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NEWS 26 March 2020

Gambling Commission CEO: Customer protection paramount during unprecedented period

By Iqbal Johal

Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur has reinforced to operators customer protection and responsible marketing are essential during a period where online gambling activity has risen.

McArthur noted that since the measures introduced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday to stop the spread of coronavirus, the potential risk of online gambling harm has increased, with reports showing online slot play, poker activity, casino gaming and virtual sports betting have risen.

PM Johnson announced new social distancing measures limiting outdoor activity to essential or exceptional circumstances, as the death toll of the virus nears 500 in the UK.

The Commission CEO noted that, with most people housebound, consumer protection must be paramount, marketing has to be conducted responsibly and operators are expected to remain compliant with license conditions.

McArthur added: "Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling has always been a major priority and we are very mindful – as you should be – of the fact the risks of harm arising from online gambling have increased as a result of recent events.

"We expect you to know your customers and step in if they are showing signs they are experiencing or at risk of harm.

"If we see irresponsible behaviour, we will step in immediately. So, while I know the current climate is unprecedented, gambling operators must play their part in making sure people are kept safe."

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