OCUK News Centre

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to invest money in specialist clinics designed to treat problem gambling more effectively and further improve gaming conditions for UK consumers.

Announced as part of the government’s 10-year plan for the NHS, the clinics will treat those deemed to have serious gambling problems. Although those with issues can currently seek help through the national clinic, data suggests that almost two million people are at risk across the country.

Clinics to Help 400,000+ Consumers

Of those at risk, the NHS Long Term Plan states that 400,000 are problem gamblers. To target those already affected, rather … Read more

Rough Start to New Year for Playtech Following £25 Million Tax Bill

Gaming developer Playtech has started 2019 on the wrong foot following tax issues in two separate countries.

In an announcement made on January 2, the software provider for UK brands such as Bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power said it will pay the Israeli Tax Authority €28 million/£25 million. The unexpected bill is the result of a civil tax audit on Playtech’s activities in Israel between 2008 and 2017.

Hands Out After Arm’s Length Calculation

The decision to hit Playtech with an additional charge is due to transfer pricing adjustments. As it is in the UK, tax authorities have the right … Read more

UK Gaming Scandals in 2018: Stabbing, Gabbing, Cheating, and Stealing

From a stabbing outside one of London’s leading casinos to poker cheats and some unlawful online practices, 2018 has been yet another year of controversy for the UK gaming industry.

Knifed at Casino

In July, the country was rocked by another knife attack. With Londoners on high alert after a spate of similar incidents across the capital, tragedy struck outside of Leicester Square’s Empire Casino.

Although information on the attack was lacking at the time, it later emerged that the victim, David Downes, worked for the casino. Why he was attacked was unclear, but reports linked it to a wave … Read more

The fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBTs) debate turned from talk into direct action in 2018, following a long-running battle between both sides of the gaming divide.

FOBTs dominated the regulatory narrative as the new year dawned. With anti-gaming advocates calling for a complete ban on the high street betting terminals, Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer gave his take on the situation.

Despite Playtech itself being online-focused, Weizer said that drastic changes would simply move the goal posts.

I believe that if FOBTs would be impacted, self-service betting terminals (SSBTs), a similar machine for sporting results, would enjoy additional benefits,” Weizer

Read more

Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will usher in 2019 with a new set of responsible gaming strategies following a recent partnership with EPIC Risk Management.

Making the announcement on December 19, GVC has entered into a multi-year agreement with the intention of training Group employees in three key areas:

Strategic advice, including how to best interact with customers showing signs of problem gambling.

Hosting workshops for high-risk populations as well as charitable organisations.

Delivery of face-to-face gambling awareness programmes to 12,000 children across 100 UK state schools.

GVC Raising Standards for All

Commenting on the partnership, GVC’s Director of Responsible … Read more

No Regrets for Crouch Following FOBT Fallout

A mid-air message about fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) triggered the fallout between Tracey Crouch and the government, but the former frontbencher doesn’t have any regrets.

Speaking to LBC Radio’s Iain Dale, the ex-Minister for Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness explained why she left her role after fighting so hard for change. During the December 18 interview, Crouch explained that she first saw the warning signs during a flight over the Atlantic.

Paying to use the plane’s Wi-Fi, the Conservative MP said she was instantly disappointed after reading reports that chancellor Philip Hammond had delayed the FOBT changes. Having played … Read more

BoyleSports to Gamble on UK Retail Sector Despite FOBT Changes

Leading Irish bookmaker BoyleSports is preparing to enter the UK retail betting market despite impending changes to fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) regulations.

Following reports by local media outlets, BoyleSports confirmed that it was poised to make a bid for a rival operator’s chain of UK betting shops. At present, the company is ranked among the top three high street betting brands in Ireland.

Despite already having a presence in the UK via its online site, BoyleSports isn’t active on the streets of England, Wales or Scotland. In a bid to stay competitive, the Irish operator wants to have at … Read more

New Rules Call Time on Betting Adverts During Sports Broadcasts

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has confirmed that a whistle-to-whistle ban on betting adverts will come into effect next year following a meeting with UK operators.

In announcing the new advertising rules on December 13, the IGRG put to bed earlier rumours that changes were coming. First picked up by the BBC, initial reports suggested that all UK betting operators had agreed to a ban on adverts during sporting events before the 9pm watershed.

IGRG Confirms Betting Adverts Ban

RGA CEO Clive Hawkswood told iGaming Business on December 6 that the BBC had “got it wrong” and that … Read more

UK Bookmakers Unfreeze Odds on White Christmas as Artic Winds Blow

UK bookmakers are slashing their odds on a white Christmas after reports of an arctic blast sweeping the country hit the headlines.

The annual tradition of betting on a white Christmas has become something of a money-spinner for UK betting operators in recent years. Despite the eternal promise of snow on Christmas Day, early forecasts have often fallen short of expectations.

However, with the MET Office currently tracking the movements of a cold snap, UK bookmakers have started to adjust their betting lines ahead of the big day.

Arctic Chill to Warm-Up Betting Markets

According to the latest weather reports, … Read more

Barclays Promotes Responsible Gambling with Merchant Control Feature

Barclays bank has launched a new type of responsible gambling feature that will allow customers to manage their spending habits by restricting deposits to online gaming sites.

Currently applicable to debit card transactions, the new switch off feature is called merchant control and is available in the latest version of the Barclays mobile app. Although the update isn’t designed to target the gaming industry specifically, online and offline transactions to betting operators are named among the list of controllable industries.

Barclays Merchant Control will cover the following  areas:

Gambling

Premium-rate websites and phonelines

Restaurants, food outlets, pubs and bars

Petrol … Read more