The United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission (UKGC) have announced new rules ensuring online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect consumers at risk of harm.
The new rules, which come into effect on 12 September 2022, are stronger and more prescriptive, requiring operators to:
- monitor a specific range of indicators as a minimum, to identify gambling harm
- flag indicators of harm and take action in a timely manner
- implement automated processes for strong indicators of harm
- prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonuses for at risk customers
- evaluate their interactions and ensure they interact with consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity
- evidence their customer interaction evaluation to the Gambling Commission during routine casework
- comply with these requirements at all times, this includes ensuring the compliance of third-party providers.
New guidance, which operators are required to take account of, will be issued in June to help them understand and comply with the requirements. The commission will engage with operators to enable the guidance to take account of queries it receives about the requirements following publication.
The strengthened requirements follow a consultation which was launched to address failings the Commission continued to see among online gambling operators. Although capable of identifying customers who may be harmed by gambling, operators were not always doing so or acting quickly enough. The Commission received approximately 13,000 responses to the consultation and call for evidence. All responses to the proposals were carefully considered to ensure proportionate, robust changes were made.
In the next phase of its programme of work to make online gambling fairer and safer, the Commission will proceed as planned and consult further on identifying customers who are financially vulnerable and tackling significant unaffordable gambling. Further updates will be provided when the consultation launches.
The UKGC commits to work closely with DCMS and take account of the Government’s Gambling Act Review. The broader programmes of work, focused on identifying customers at risk of harm will also continue, including close engagement with the BGC and ICO on the ‘single customer view’ pilot.
Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Andrew Rhodes, said:
“Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm. These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit.
We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so.”
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