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UKGC doubles down on Responsible Gambling in 2020

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The UK Gambling Commission has come under fire from operators and analysts for not having the industries best interests at heart, however, with gambling addiction on the rise, the Gambling Commission has chosen to double down on regulations that it feels best protects the individual.

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission said:

The volume and complexity of our work continue to grow. However, we will continue to focus our resources on the areas that have maximum impact on the greatest number of consumers.

2020 has seen the regulator flood the marketplace with decisive actions which included everything from limiting bet sizes at pub machines to the imminent banning of credit card gambling.

Here is an overview of the UKGC’s latest actions and regulations:

Operators under the microscope

With the recent increase in online gambling activity, the Gambling Commission chose to provide players with an insightful look at what they should be expecting from their respective online gambling and betting providers.

This included that fact that a trusted provider should offer:

  • tools to manage and limit spending
  • the option to self-exclude
  • an easy to access and understand summary of their terms
  • reporting on past account activity

The UKGC also partnered with Twitter to help players understand how to limit the amount of online gambling content they see, advised players on how to verify that casinos have UKGC approval and offered access to several responsible gambling sites for those in need.

GamStop Compliance

A major step forward in ensuring UK gamblers have the necessary tools to help stave off temptation was the decision to enforce GamStop compliance for all UK licensed casinos by March 31st, 2020. Failure to do so would find them in breach of the social responsibility code provision 3.5.5 and put them in danger of forfeiting their license.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said:

Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GamStop by 31 March.

To show their dedication to the program the Commission banned two gambling sites on April 3rd with immediate effect.

Credit Card Gambling Ban

One of the Gambling Commission’s rulings which have been met with mixed feelings from both sides of the industry is the imminent ban on credit gambling. As of April 14th 2020 no UK players, landbased or online, will be allowed to gamble using their credit card.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:

Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation

Gamblers will simply move their spending to the wide selection of payment providers, like web wallets - that are funded via credit card.

While the UKGC can reports a “marked decline” in credit gambling the reality will be that this is mere obfuscation, not a solution.

Just keep swimming

Never one to rest on their laurels the Commission has published its “2020/21 Business Plan” which outlines their action plan for addressing public safety and reducing gambling harms.

In short, the plan outlines how they will activate their promise to:

  1. Protect the interests of consumers
  2. Prevent harm to consumers and the public
  3. Raise standards in the gambling market
  4. Optimise returns to good causes from lotteries
  5. Improve the way we regulate

Navigating balancing the rights of the individual to live their own lives while creating tools and infrastructure to protect at-risk individuals is always going to be a case of win-some, lose-some however with the Gambling Commission’s dedication to protecting their people and the economy it is a safe bet that they will get more things right than wrong.

Read our guide on Online Gambling Regulations in the UK to get more details and information on this regulator.

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