Gambling Commission issues new operator guidance despite decline in gambling participation

By Iqbal Johal

The Gambling Commission has published guidance and measures for online operators in the UK, aimed at furthering player protection during the coronavirus lockdown.

The measures follow research the Gambling Commission collected with YouGov surveys, which showed gambling participation is down overall during lockdown, although certain activity has increased.

As a result, the Commission has put in place additional guidance for operators, including preventing reverse withdrawal options for customers until further notice and ceasing offers or promotions to customers displaying indicators of harm.

Additional measures include interacting with customers who have been playing for at least an hour in a single session of play, review thresholds for new customers and conducting affordability assessments on players experiencing harm.

Out of those surveyed, the majority indicated they have not increased the time or money spent on gambling, although 64% of more-engaged gamblers said they have increased time or money spent on at least one gaming activity.

The research also showed that, while overall session lengths have decreased, there has been a spike in the number of sessions played for more than an hour.

Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur said: "Operators must use the data they hold to protect their customers.

"Now, more than ever, it’s vital online operators really know their customers by monitoring how long they are playing for; and understanding how financial uncertainty is impacting them and what they can afford to gamble with."


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