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New UKGC Safety Regulations Update 2024

New UKGC Rules Around Safety and Choice in Gambling you Need to Know

There are new rules on the horizon designed to make gambling safer for everyone. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is rolling out changes over the coming months and into 2025 to boost regulation and give you more control over your playing experience. We are here to run you through all four stages. Let’s dive in.

If you’ve been playing a while, you’ll have noticed how much the industry has changed over recent years. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is responding to a 2023 Government policy paper which highlighted the need for regulatory updates. The upcoming potential changes outlined by the UKGC include:

  • reducing the speed and intensity of online games
  • improving direct marketing materials choice
  • financial vulnerability checks 
  • tightening age verification for premises 
  • personal management licences for premises

Reducing Game Intensity and New Marketing Controls

The UKGC hopes new rules for the way games are designed will improve player understanding and elevate the online gaming experience. Changes include banning features that accelerate outcomes, such as turbo features and autoplay. Most significant for many players is the fact that casino games spin speeds of less than 5 seconds will also be banned, while games will have to display real-time information on consumers’ net spend and gambling duration.

It also wants to give players more control over receiving marketing materials, like opt-ins and the communication channels in which they receive them, like email, SMS, post etc. These changes will come into force on 17th January 2025 (stage 3).

Financial Vulnerability Checks

The UKGC is planning to implement two types of checks to protect overspending and gambling-related issues: frictionless financial risk assessments and light-touch financial vulnerability checks. They will only be put into place if the six month pilot period shows that they can be done without causing any unnecessary inconvenience or disruption. If the pilot proves that these checks can in fact be “frictionless”, the changes will be formally introduced.

Neither of the two checks will affect a player’s credit rating.

The potential light touch financial vulnerability checks would be to better identify anyone acutely financially vulnerable and support players subject to bankruptcy orders or a history of unpaid debts. This would be for players with a net deposit of £500 a month on 30th August 2024 (stage 1), then reducing to £150 a month from 28th February 2025 (stage 4). 

These checks will be made through publicly available data only, without requiring personal details like employment to be taken into account.

The potential frictionless financial risk assessments are to evaluate the risk of harm for players who spend the most money.

After receiving feedback from consultations, the UKGC plans to conduct a pilot to see how this might be executed, involving working with credit reference agencies and gambling companies. 

Tightening Age Verification and Extending Personal Management Licences

To ensure compliance with age restrictions, licensees of establishments will conduct ‘age verification test purchasing’, like mystery shopping, to test that staff are ID’ing customers. This is not relevant to online playing. It will also require staff to check the age of anyone who appears to be under 25, rather than under 21 years of age. These will take effect from 30th August 2024 (stage 1). 

Additionally, from 30th November 2024 (stage 2), the UKGC is extending the types of roles required to have a personal management licence, meaning more people in management positions at gambling venues will need to have a licence, to ensure proper oversight and the following of regulations.

In the words of Andrew Rhodes, CEO of the Gambling Commission, “We must strike a balance between protecting individuals from the potential harms of gambling and respecting adults’ freedom to engage in a leisure activity safely.” 

Through these measures, the UKGC aims to achieve precisely that – safeguarding players while ensuring a happy community and responsibly regulated gambling industry. 

Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to follow this story.

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