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UK Gambling Commission to make online gambling “safer”

The UK Gambling Commission has announced its new action plan to introduce additional regulations, in order to strengthen pre-existing controls and further improve the safeguarding of children online. The announcement, made on Monday, also outlines the commission’s points of review and discussion for the upcoming year.

ukgcsafety

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, explained the need for the new action plan: “Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and we are continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers”.

The new  proposed changes and actions include: banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined,improving the speed and effectiveness of age verification processes and ensuring that  operators set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted.

Additional measures proposed include tackling unacceptable marketing and advertising and unfair terms, and improving complaints and disputes procedures while also strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be experiencing, or are at risk of developing, problems with their gambling.

The UK Gambling sector has increased its profits by 10% in the last year, reaching a staggering £4.7bn. This is in part thanks to an increase in online gambling participation which now stands at 18.3% of the population, up from 15.5% in 2014.

McArthur added: “The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport said: "We are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling."

Its been a busy period for the UKGC, who provided the UK Government with its recommendations on highly controversial fixed odds betting terminals, recommending that the maximum stake on these machines be cut to £2 on slots based games, while also recommending a cut to £30 in the maximum stake on non slots fixed odds betting terminals.  The commission has today also published it long term strategy for the coming year.

Focal points for the commission during 2018, include:  assessing the effectiveness of the current tools available to consumers to manage their gambling, reviewing gambling product characteristics to identify whether particular features pose greater risk of harm than others, reviewing requirements on the protection of customer funds and consider whether there are sufficient protections around dormant accounts.

The UKGC have also confirmed that it is considering whether gambling on credit should continue to be permitted or prohibited.

 

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