The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced new rules that will ensure gambling operators do more to identify and protect players at risk of gambling harm. The new rules will be enforced from September 12th, and the press release comes ahead of the significant reforms due in May from the Gambling Review.
The rules include a complete advertising ban for at-risk players and other measures that increase operators’ safeguarding role and include continuous player evaluation and monitoring with a requirement to submit evidence to the UKGC.
New Rules for Operators
New guidance for operators explaining the new rules and measures will be published in June, with the UKGC accepting queries from operators before the September implementation date. So far, the UKGC has stated that operators will have to:
Monitor specific indicators to identify risk and gambling harm.
Flag such cases and take action as soon as possible.
Implement automated protocols for serious indicators of gambling harms.
Prevent marketing and new bonus uptake from at-risk players.
Evaluate their interactions with- risk players and present evidence of customer interaction evaluations for the UKGC.
Comply with the new rules and ensure third-party (affiliates) compliance.
The specific indicators include customer spending, patterns of spending, time spent gambling, gambling behaviour indicators, customer-led contact, use of gambling management tools, and other account indicators.
Implementation and Compliance
With the new rules coming into effect on September 12th, it’s unclear how they will be implemented, especially as they include an advertising and bonus uptake ban for at-risk consumers.
UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes warned that they expect operators to “identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate, and effective action”, with the UKCG not hesitating to take “tough action on operators who fail to do so”.
The rules come ahead of what is expected to be major gambling reform in the UK. They result from a consultation launched to adequately address what the UKGC sees as failings among operators to protect at-risk consumers adequately. While operators can identify at-risk players, they don’t always do so or are too slow to act.
The UKGC has said they received over 1,300 responses to the consultation, considering all proposals and ensuring “proportionate, robust changes were made”. The next phase of their program will concentrate on making online gambling fairer and safer, proceeding with another consultation ahead of further possible regulation changes aiming to address unaffordable gambling.
The UKGC has also said that it continues to consider the current government Gambling Review, supporting the wider context of safer gambling, protecting consumers and the proposed “single customer view” model.