Gambling Commission releases new guidelines to protect problem gamblers

By Ralph Trayfalgar, Updated:

Following a previous set that was released earlier in April, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued a new string of guidelines meant to protect problem gamblers in the country. Both sets are to be precursors to a completely revised regulation set for all UK online casinos, which is expected to release later in September this year. 

The UKGC believes that all of the measures currently being used to safeguard gamblers are insufficient. Because the operators were too slow to detect consumers who were spending more than they could afford, this led to instances in which people losing money that had been set aside for needs like rent or bills.

Operators urged to be more proactive

Under the new guidelines, the UKGC deems operators as having primary responsibility for identifying and monitoring signs of potential gambling addiction among their player bases. 

The new list of recommendations from the UK Gambling Commission includes several points, one of which is the categorization of different forms of gambling according to the degree of danger they provide.

The operators of each type of gambling will need to keep a record of the percentage of customers who have a gambling problem and improve their interactions with customers correspondingly. The licensees are going to be responsible for keeping track of these KPIs on a monthly basis.

Once a person is determined to be a "at-risk client," gaming enterprises will be forced to exclude that consumer from receiving any type of marketing or promotional offers.

The Commission also recommended operators should focus on a more tailored and in-depth approach to said monitoring rather than simply relying on general data points like age, literacy, health, and financial standing. The commission also recommended increasing client contact based on open-source data, going beyond simply establishing basic deposit or loss levels.

Increasing enforcement to noncompliant operators

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes, made the announcement that the regulator will be increasing the amount of work it puts into enforcement and that operators were required to adhere rigorously to the restrictions that are already in place.

Rhodes emphasised that the Gambling Commission will "not be complacent," adding further in his statement that any failure to fulfill their criteria will result in severe punishments.

And so far, the commission has indeed been true to their word, meting out a string of fines against a number of casino sites and software providers alike for these failings, including the recent huge £9.4m 888 casino fine.

Both Jumpman Gaming and Pragmatic Play were fined £500,000 and £175,718 respectively for breaching the terms of their respective licenses.

Jumpman was unable to identify a "at-risk" customer and watched as a player lost £20,000 before discovering that the individual was unable to pay the loss. This discovery took Jumpman six weeks to make. Additionally, the UK General Commission found connections to terrorist organizations as well as money laundering activities.

The regulating body did not hesitate to take matters into their own hands and suspended their casino operator license for failing to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and failing to demonstrate social responsibility.

These actions send a loud and obvious signal to the gaming firms in the UK that the Gambling Commission will continue to tighten its grip on misbehaving operators despite the fact that new regulatory reforms are on the horizon. 

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