UKGC Defends Regualtor’s Efforts at CMS Gambling Conference

The British Gambling Commission boss has spoken at the CMS Gambling Conference, hailing the regulatory efforts made so far and putting the onus on operators to be more pro-active in resolving the industry’s current problems.

Gambling Commission Boss Strikes Back at Criticism

UK Gambling Commission Neil McArthur has praised the efforts of the regulator, arguing that despite mounting criticism, the British gambling watchdog has been one of the most pro-active overseers of the gaming sector.

McArthur responded to criticism from all parties during his CMS Gambling Conference speech explaining that the Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, which has been actively lambaasting the UKGC over ‘failures to enforce player security,’ was not true.

McArthur said that everyone on his team was committed to making gambling safer and that all UKGC staffers were involved with the sector and staying close to people who have actually suffered from gambling or gambled excessively.

Operators Must Step Up, McArthur Says

Addiction and neglect, McArthur said, were the two things he understood well, citing his career as a local authority child protection lawyer, giving him unique insight into what they can bring upon a family and society as a whole.

Even then, McArthur acknowledged that the Commission still had a long way to go, but he added that many operators had the answers to questions that have been discussed over and over again. McArthur also explained why the regulator had to toughen regulatory measures by so much in 2019:

“We did that because we needed to significantly change the behavior of operators and those who run them. There were far too many failures, too many repeated instances of lessons not being learned and – frankly – standards were not good enough. I realize that each press release we put out adds to the weight of negative stories, but it’s not my job to create positive stories or suppress bad news stories.”

He acknowledged that the current rate of problem gamblers in the UK, cited at some 300,000 people, was unacceptable. In fact, some observers have suggested that this number was closer to 340,000 problem gamblers presently.

McArthur did say that CEOs are committed to making gambling safer, and that he welcomed the move. He cited current efforts with multiple companies, such as Sky Betting and Gaming, Playtech, GVC Holdings and SG Gaming, and the establishment of three industry working groups specifically designed to address pressing issues in the gambling sector.

Overall, McArthur said, all projects and initiatives kickstarted by the Commission had the sole purpose of enhancing player safety plain and simple. The UKGC chief also welcomed the opportunity to make more headway in bolstering the overall security of the sector.

Still, a lot of work has to be done and as McArthur noted himself, operators need to step up.

Image credit: UKGC Twitter

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

UKGC to Ensure FOBTs Measures Are Met as of April 1

  • UKGC to monitor if FOBTs rules are applied
  • New security measures coming in
  • Customer identity to be verified within 24 hours

The UK Gambling Commission is looking into introducing more customer protections for players in the United Kingdom, even after the Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) measures have been introduced.

The UK Gambling Commission Targets FOBTs for Extra Customer Protection

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is committed to upholding the highest security standards when it comes down to the customer. In light of the recently-introduced measures to slash the maximum betting limits on FOBTs, the watchdog is aware that some companies may overlook the rule.

This is why, the UKGC is stepping up its efforts to ensure that no discrepancies between law and practice occur. Starting today, April 1, all FOBTs in the United Kingdom should be re-adjusted to offer customers only £2 per spin, down from £100 in the past.

The measure was rushed after the initial timeline was set for October, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was accused of deliberately working with iGaming businesses at the expense and detriment of people.

New UKGC Customer Identity Measures Arrive in May, 2019

The row led to the resignation of now former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch who remains a vehement supporter of introducing more measures to safeguard British customers from malicious iGaming practices.

As to the regulator, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur has reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to upholding order and investigating companies that try to color around the lines. Here’s what Mr. McArthur had to say:

Together with Government and the industry, we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer – this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street.

Politicians haven’t been sitting idly either, with Jeremy Wright, the present Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport planning even more measures to protect customer. Mr. Wright has been focusing on restricting underage gambling which he considers to still not be addressed properly.

In a recent statement he commented:

The Government’s actions and ambitions stretch much further and we are looking at further treatment of those who have suffered from gambling-related harm, whether gambling on credit should be limited and considering what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online.

The Commission plans to introduce a number of measures intended at bolstering the overall security. This means that starting in 2019, casinos will be obliged to verify a customer’s age and identity before they, i.e. the customer, is allowed to access the casino’s facilities.

This includes the free to play versions that are also coming under stricter restrictions. The UKGC is also going to speed up the verification process which now takes 72 hours and ask of casinos to be done with these important checks within a 24-hour time window.

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UKGC to Further Step up Security Measures with ADRs

  • UKGC plans to seek industry experts’ opinions to introduce ADRs
  • The Commission is seeking to step up the overall customer protection in the country

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is tightening the control over online gambling companies. All of the recently proposed changes are sensible and for the better. Still, the UK’s governing gaming body wants to hear other opinions.

The UKGC to Consult Businesses and Experts about Planned Changes

No big change in the UK gambling climate is ever random or ill-considered. It requires a lot of coordination between business, regulators and politicians. True, the UKGC is not in the habit of always making its intents known beforehand, but it’s not trying to suffocate business either.

However, the UKGC is committed to protecting customers and that often means a rather more gung-ho approach towards bookmakers, lotteries, casinos and card rooms. So, who’s the UKGC reaching out to? Pretty much anyone with a skin in the game, including:

  • Consumers
  • Businesses
  • Industry experts

The Commission will discuss several proposed measures related to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), interaction, as well as new rules as to who can deposit & play and under what circumstances. The legal deadline to vet a customer is also going to be reduced as per the UKGC’s latest rules.

It’s Time to Add a Middleman

The Commission is actively seeking to brush up on the existing measures when it comes to handling complaints as well as introduce an ADR provider who will be able to sort through any disagreement between business and physical parties in the gambling segment.

The UKGC also wants to see operators offer other helpful tools, such as gambling blocking software, which would allow customers to completely opt out of certain gaming practices.

In the official statement the Commission released, UKGC Executive Director Paul Hope had the following to say:

We would like as many people as possible to have their say on these two consultations and the call for evidence. The proposed changes are intended to accelerate progress in protecting consumers and preventing them from experiencing gambling related harm.

The Commission recently announced another set of measures intended at tightening the security measures in the United Kingdom when it comes to gambling.

The Commission has been overhauling the existing regulation not least of all because the national self-exclusion scheme had been found to lack in certain ways, allowing customers to still bet after they had excluded themselves.

The UK Gambling Commission Recommends New Measures

“Making gambling fairer and safer is at the heart of how we regulate and better customer interaction, higher ADR standards and facilitating readily available blocking software are all part of this,” Mr. Hope added.

Toughening Legal Context This Year

The industry will undergo some significant changes this year. The Remote Gambling Duty (RGD) will go up to 21%, which is the break-line between lucrative businesses and struggling minnows.

The Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will also take a tumble down, to £2 per maximum bet in a bid to discourage people from burning life-ruining amounts of money. The measure has been welcomed by the government.

While the RGD will be changed in November, FOBTs will be re-adjusted in April.

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Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

The UK Gambling Commission Recommends New Measures

  • The UK Gambling Commission toughens identity measures and verification process
  • Measures intended at protecting children and vulnerable individuals
  • No free products available without registration & verification
  • Depositing funds will now require to verify a customer’s indentity

The UK Gambling Commission, the country’s regulator, has released a new set of rules and measures intended at better regulating the industry and protecting individuals from gambling harm.

The UK Gambling Commission’s Latest Security Measures

The UK Gambling Commission is the UK’s governing authority when it comes to iGaming, land-based gambling operations, sports betting, bingo parlours and poker cardrooms. The watchdog’s remit extends to issuing and enforcing regulations as well as investigating and issuing penalties to wrongdoers.

The Commission announced a new set of measures focusing on protecting consumers from various age groups by demanding from operators to identify individuals who register faster, ultimately for consumer’s best interest.

Making Gambling Safer for Everyone – Children Protected

In one of its latest surveys, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that the number of child gamblers quadrupled. The worrying trend has been reason enough for the country’s governing body to seek a way to bolster security measures when it comes to preventing underage gamblers from participating.

One such way, the UKGC believes, is by slashing the 72 hours grace period given to casinos to carry out verification checks confirming the identity of gamers. Up until now, customers were allowed to deposit funds and play, but not withdraw without proper verification. Here’s what UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur had to say:

These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling. They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.

Some industry leaders have applied the measure indiscriminately asking from players to verify their identity and address before they can proceed with gambling activity of any sort. Under the latest changes, the operators will have to conduct these mandatory checks before users can:

  • Deposit funds into an account
  • Gamble with the license with either their own money or a free bet or bonus

In other words, even the so-called free bets, free play and free spins are off limits for individuals who haven’t confirmed their identity. The Commission also requires all customers to be registered and confirm their identity before they can access even the free play version of any game.

Toughening Up on Identity and Criminal Activity

By introducing the new set of measures, the UKGC is hoping to effectively slash some of its own workload by creating very clear rules whereby operators and customers will be fully-informed what the depositing and withdrawing procedures are.

In the official press release, the UKGC wrote that 15% of all complaints regarding customers withdrawals were linked to operators requesting additional information from customers before they clear a transfer.

No such miscommunication will be possible once the new rules hit. The new measures will also help with keeping the national self-exclusion scheme, GamStop, in line. GamStop has been coming under additional scrutiny after BBC investigators confirmed that the system can be gamed rather easily, too.

Not least of all, operators must be readier to turn gamers from their betting shops, casinos and card rooms, after they’ve established that a person

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UKGC Cautions Operators about NDAs and License Compliance

  • The UKGC cautions that NDAs don’t rule out reporting issues pertaining to licensing
  • Operators shouldn’t bar customers from revealing information that can identify issues with licensing
  • People who suffer from gaming addiction should be able to impart information with health specialists
  • A failure to self-report an issue by an operator would be considered an aggravating factor in ensuing legislation

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) continues to work on improving the overall gaming climate in the country. Recently, the UKGC cautioned that negotiating NDAs mustn’t prevent customers from reporting license violations.

UKGC Reminds That License Obligations Take Precedence over NDAs

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) reminded that settlements between customers and operators shouldn’t come at the expense of reporting license violations, strong-arming participants with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

In a similar vein, the UKGC believes that even if an NDA presupposes that a customer shouldn’t disclose certain information, the Commission still believes that customers who suspect license violations must be able to report any breaches of the Gambling Act.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

The UKGC also cited another problem with NDAs whereby individuals who are known gambling addicts might be forced to withhold essential information for their treatment.

Here’s how the official statement of the Commission read: “Some of these agreements may have had the effect of preventing those consumers from reporting regulatory concerns to us, by either excluding disclosure to any third party or, in some cases, explicitly preventing customers from contacting the Gambling Commission.”

The Commission listed several scenarios in which NDAs could be disruptive, including:

  • Preventing regulators oр law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations
  • Limiting the UKGC’s ability to identify breaches in the license conditions
  • Stopping customers from making complaints to the Commission
  • Limiting the scope of gambling treatment for vulnerable individuals

Understandably, the UKGC is aware of the business value of such NDAs, but they should never impede, prevent or deter a person from reporting a pertinent issue to the regulatory body. The Commission was very specific in the do’s and don’ts:

If a customer in the course of negotiating a settlement agreement states that they intend to report a matter to the Commission, we expect licensees will normally be able to inform the customer that they have already self-reported an incident.

The Commission also explained that it was up to the operators to self-report the incident. A failure to do so would be considered an aggravating factor in any ensuing regulatory action pursued by the Commission.

UKGC’s Continuous Efforts to Curb Harm

Given the steady number of people addicted to gambling, the UK has been transforming its offer significantly via a number of social responsibility and regulatory measures. In light of the growing regulatory climate, operators announced that they would introduce a voluntary water-shed ban on all live sports betting contests.

The UKGC and the Government negotiated a reduction of the FOBTs rates that will come into effect in April, with bookmakers in Ireland taking their cue and opting to comply before a law is even passed.

Meanwhile, the gaming revenue is going to go up to 21%, an on-the-border tax that some businesses fear could render their operations non-profitable.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

  • Jeremy Wright will talk with bookmakers and retail banks and discuss banning credit cards for gambling purposes
  • The UKGC will launch their own investigation to seek evidence about a link between gambling harm and the use of credit cards
  • The country focuses on even broader self-exclusion practices

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will call for a review of a proposed measure seeking to limit the use of credit cards in gambling and betting establishments, including poker & bingo rooms and lotteries.

UKGC and Jeremy Wright Look into Credit Card Use

An important new development in the UK gambling climate has transpired. The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, said that he was now looking into the possibility of restricting gaming-related payments made via credit cards.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Wright said that he would hold various meetings with bookmaker and retail banking representatives. If the measure is seen through, this would affect billions of pounds transacted as wagers every year.

Mr. Wright’s primary concern has been the growing use of credit cards in settling gaming-related transactions. According to the data presented by him and cited by the Guardian, 20% of all transactions related to gambling have been settled with the use of credit card.

The issue with this specific method of payment lies in the fact that many consumers could be tempted to play with money that they don’t actually have. As a result, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said that it would follow up on Mr. Wright’s initiative and seek evidence about the correlation between gambling harm and the use of credit harm.

The move is expected in February. A UKGC spokesperson has commented, explaining that the watchdog has been considering similar measures in the past:

In our online review last year we said we will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and will explore the consequences of doing so.

Now that Mr. Wright is also pushing for a change, it seems only appropriate to have the UKGC look into the matter as well. Mr. Wright’s own commitment to creating a gaming industry that focuses on the consumer well-being has been quite marked.

Banks in the UK Step Up Gambling Protection Efforts

He remains one of the staunches supporters of the FOBTs reduction plan and has spearheaded the timelier changes to the maximum bets applicable to the terminals, with the stake now awaiting reduction to £2 from £100 in April.

Mr. Wright has expressed his gratitude to retail banks which agreed to allow their customers to self-exclude from certain industries, including gambling. Some of the banking bodies to have pushed ahead with the move include Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Self-exclusion schemes have been also another important part of the United Kingdom’s effort to limit harmful gambling practices. One of the most popular self-exclusion schemes in the country, GamStop has been recently cited by the BBC as “flawed”, with the popular media outlet finding people who have successfully gamed the system by changing their legal names or e-mail addresses.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

One in Five People to Stop Betting If TV Ads Ban Is Approved

Limiting the exposure of people to gambling advertisement may actually lead to a downturn in the number of individuals who actually venture to place a wager, a new poll claims.

No Advertisement Would Mean Fewer Gamblers Study Finds

While the debate surrounding TV and online advertisement rages on, a new poll has emerged to support the “against-campaign” to certain extent. The numbers are much equally spread, though. According to the research, if there were a ban of gambling products during sporting events, fewer people would be tempted to place a wager.

The study was issued on December 6 and carried out by Harris Interactive, an intelligence firm. The report hinted at a newly-agreed deal between UK betting operators and broadcasters, asking companies to phase out their ads voluntarily during all live sporting events.

The findings of the research indicated that 81% agreed with the ban, although these numbers fell down to 66% when the people answering the questions identified themselves as gamblers.

According to the poll, 23% of people said that they would consider staking less money on the outcome of sporting events with another 18% saying that they would consider stopping altogether.

Understandably, gambling companies would bear the brunt of such a measure with revenue more than likely to start dipping significantly. This comes at a time when the entire sector has been buffeted by a number of regulations – from shrinking fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to an increase in the gambling tax, and more.

However, as Mims Davies, the new Sports Minister pointed out, the government was tasked with bringing down gambling harm, not guarantee profits for the bookmakers.

Banning en Masse

Estimated 54% believed that shirt sponsorship should be prohibited and another 53% also said that advertisement around the field should be also stripped out and removed. Of course, this will bite into the revenue streams of sporting bodies as well, which makes the measure more difficult to clear.

The perception of gambling addiction was also interesting. According to the people interviewed, they thought that the statistics indicated an increase in the number of problem gamers. However, this is not entirely true. The number of active gamers in the United Kingdom has fallen, although the level of problem gamers has kept relatively intact.

Now, more adolescent individuals are also exposed to gambling advertisement, with the number raising to 450,000 of children who are not of the legal age to gamble yet having placed a bet a week prior to a survey-interview designed to gauge the spread of underage gambling.

Pushing with more drastic measures to uproot the threat of problem gambling inherent to advertisement, if such is indeed established, would require a united public front. However, as the numbers indicate, there is still division on whether more restrictive measures should be introduced.

The industry needs to do more to demonstrate to the public they care about the lives of their customers.

Harris’ report indicated that while the public would be welcoming the eradication of problem gambling, to the majority of people, the issue remains an ever-present ailment that cannot be simply chucked away.

To change public perception of the industry and bring down the number of problem gamblers, the industry would need to make sacrifices to prove its good intentions.

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!