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Gambling Regulation

UKGC Reveals Next Steps for Player Protection

Earlier this year, the UK Gambling Commission liaised with its stakeholders to pinpoint ways that remote operators can better protect their customers from gambling harms. It has now released its findings and plans to prioritise the three key risks that its casework and evidence have helped to identify.

At the beginning of 2021, the Gambling Commission began consultation with UK-licensed online gambling operators in a bid to make online gambling fairer and safer.

The Remote Customer Interaction Consultation formed part of a long-term programme of work that the Commission hopes will help remote operators to identify and address customers who they believe are at risk of gambling harm.

The Commission received 13,000 responses in total to its survey, call for evidence and full consultation, and has just released an update on the progress that’s been made so far, as well as the next steps that it plans to take.

Operator Feedback

Many of the respondents agreed that there need to be protections in place for vulnerable customers and that they should carry out checks to identify and prevent instances of “unaffordable gambling”. However, they also stressed the need to make such measures “proportionate and targeted at those at risk of harm” and take into consideration players’ concerns about freedom of choice and privacy.

The Next Steps

Now that the Gambling Commission has had time to study the feedback, it has concluded that there are three key risks that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

  1. Financial vulnerability – where players are at risk of being harmed by their level of gambling due to their being particularly financially vulnerable.
  2. Significant losses over time – a small proportion of customers have suffered significant financial losses over a period of time without operators assessing whether they are being harmed.
  3. Significant losses within a short space of time – although rare, some players have been allowed to wager thousands of pounds without any checks being undertaken. For example, one customer lost £4,000 in just 6 minutes after registering.

The Commission has promised to publish a full response to the consultation this summer which will include detailed actions and guidance that operators will need to undertake.

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