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UK Gambling Commission Enforces New Guidelines to Prevent Gambling-Related Harm

By Ralph Trayfalgar, Updated:

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced new guidelines that will force all online casinos in the UK to identify and respond to cases of players with potential risk of causing gambling-related harm.

To comply with the guidelines, these offshore operators must monitor a  “specific range of indicators as a required minimum to identify gambling harms,” beginning on September 12, 2022 when the guidelines go into effect. 

Operators will get further advice from the Gambling Commission by the end of June, which will further define their expected activities in the areas of customer service obligations, player monitoring, and company responsibility.

According to the Commission, an overhaul of customer care obligations is necessary to address "continued failings by licensed operators." The Commission claimed that, while operators were capable of recognising at-risk clients, many did not act in a timely manner.

Parts of the new guidelines include rules that require operators to use automated systems to record signs of player injury and to guarantee that "marketing engagements are prevented with at-risk customers".

Operators are expected to "evaluate their interactions" and deal with "consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity.” They are also expected to present proof of their customer contact evaluation to the Commission; hence an additional requirement for thorough record-keeping.

“Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm,” said Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes. “These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit.”

“We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so.”

These new guidelines are just another step in the Gambling Commission’s mission to make the United Kingdom gambling industry the safest and most fair gaming market for consumers. The Commission will continue onward in its programmes to improve better detection of player affordability and risk of financial harm. 

“We will continue to work closely with DCMS and take account of the Government’s Gambling Act Review,” a statement from the Commission read. “Our broader programmes of work, focused on identifying customers at risk of harm will also continue, including close engagement with the BGC and ICO on the ‘single customer view’ pilot.”

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