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British gamblers who lose £500 or more a month could face extra checks

The UK Gambling Commission has responded to increased pressure from the British government by tightening a host of measures such as safety checks for online gamblers who lose £500 ($628) or more a month.

The regulator published its consultation on Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards, providing detailed insights into the proposed changes.

As we reported UK gambling operators have been hounded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for some time.

UK Gambling Commission responds to pressure

Responding to the UK Government’s White Paper, High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age, the regulator has decided to focus on several key topics.

Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission CEO, said: “We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm.”

These include tighter age verification processes, opt-in/out for communications, lengthening the time of stake placing, and tighter checks on customer financial vulnerability.

The operator said “a great deal of interest in the topic of financial risk from a range of stakeholders – in the consultation itself and in discussions and engagement with the Commission and with government. We have carefully considered the consultation responses before arriving at decisions on next steps.”

The UK online gambling market is a bustling business with online gambling raking in £1.36bn ($1.6bn), as we reported this month. So this is both a lucrative tax opportunity for the UK government but comes at the cost of vulnerable individuals being at risk of potential problem gambling.

The Gambling Commission’s measures are a response to pressures from the UK Government and advocacy groups that aim to reduce the risk of harm to these vulnerable individuals and those at risk of bankruptcy.

New phases of regulation

New phases of regulation will be in place in August 2024 to protect UK gamblers and hold the Gambling Commission accountable. These include:

  • A light-touch financial vulnerability checks to individuals losing £500 ($628) or more in a month
  • A step to reduce underage gambling
  • A pilot process to involve major gambling operators in the UK to deploy frictionless financial risk assessments
  • Direct marketing communications to be revised to give vulnerable individuals an option to opt-in, rather than send communications automatically
  • A set of new or amended remote technical standards to slow the rapidity of bet placing on digital games

The regulator concluded the summary of changes that have been developed. Saying “We will shortly set out a full timeline of Commission changes to the regulatory framework, which covers Commission amendments to LCCP, Remote and Gaming Machine Technical Standards and other key documents. This timeline will be available on our website and cover changes that are connected with Gambling Act Review implementation.”

Image: Ideogram.