New Fair and Safe Gambling Strategy Announced by the UKGC
The Gambling Commission hopes to improve standards, targeting five key areas over a three-year period, including providing support for problem gamblers and optimising returns to good causes from lotteries.
The roadmap includes ambitious plans to improve the way it regulates the industry, in light of growing concerns surrounding the number of people at risk from gambling addiction in the UK. The UKGC published data in August, highlighting that almost 4% of the population can be classed as problem gamblers.
The damaging effects of high maximum bets on fixed-odds betting terminals are under the microscope, as is the volume, nature and scheduling of gambling advertising, and the UKGC admits public trust and confidence in gambling is on the decline.
In the 2018 to 2021 strategy document, the Commission announced it would intervene “on a precautionary basis” if products, licensees or processes were not optimised in favour of consumer welfare.
It adds that action would be taken to deliver strict punishment for what it deems as persistent or systematic failures. Perhaps as a sign of things to come, in recent months the UKGC has handed down heavy fines to UK operators for failing to protect problem gamblers, including a record £7.8m fine for 888 Holdings.
UKGC chair Bill Moyes insists the strategy can only deliver results if the regulator engages with consumers and works closely with other regulators and the industry.
In the same way that this strategy challenges the industry, we also challenge ourselves – as the regulator – to deliver effective, targeted and innovative regulation. At the end of three years, we expect to see an industry that strives continuously to raise their standards, treat customers fairly, and protect vulnerable people. – Bill Moyes, UKGC Chairman
A mandatory levy proposed by the Gambling Commission, which it claims has the support of some of the industry’s biggest operators, would represent a “fair and credible way” of addressing the shortfall in case the situation does not improve.