The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is preparing to conduct a thorough review of gambling regulations, by initiating seven new consultations with industry stakeholders. This move is in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to refine its upcoming gambling White Paper, ensuring that the legislation can effectively address the changing industry landscape in the digital age.
The consultations are expected to last approximately 12 weeks, concluding around February-March 2024. The focus will be on exploring critical industry aspects such as socially responsible incentives, customer-led tools, transparency in protecting customer funds, annual financial contributions to research and treatment, regulatory data reporting, financial penalties, and fiscal event reporting.
The White Paper, released on 27 April, has already involved four consultations on crucial components including age verification, financial risk assessments, marketing strategies, and remote game design. These consultations have played a significant role in shaping the new legislation and adapting the UKGC to the evolving complexity and global reach of the gambling industry.
One recent development includes discussions on a mandatory levy with industry stakeholders to replace the current voluntary system. This measure aims to minimize the gambling industry’s influence on how gambling harm treatment services operate and is estimated to raise as much as £100 million for the NHS to develop gambling research and treatment of gambling-related problems.
The upcoming consultations will also examine proposals regarding incentives such as free bets and bonuses, ensuring that they do not promote harmful or excessive gambling habits. There will also be a focus on modifications to the calculation of financial penalties to establish a clear framework where prohibitive non-compliance costs force operator accountability. Additionally, the use of customer-led tools to empower consumer financial decisions will be assessed, potentially including features such as deposit limits.
The UKGC is committed to supporting the government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in implementing the Gambling Act Review. These consultations are crucial in establishing a more robust and responsible gambling environment in the UK, enhancing the current risk-based regulatory approach in response to the gambling sector’s growing complexity and global reach.