In a welcome move and one entirely in keeping with the ethos of this site, the Gambling Commission (GC) has recently published a report into enforcement action it has taken against certain operators. Entitled Raising standards for consumers: Enforcement report 2017-2018, it seeks to redress the balance of fairness in the gambling industry more towards its consumers, by protecting their interests and those of the wider public, and to raise standards in the industry generally.
Neil McArthur, the GCs Chief Executive, intends to see operators minimising risks to licensing objectives and reducing gambling related harm; putting consumer interests first by communicating with them in a transparent manner, one which allows them to make properly informed decisions; and their becoming more open and cooperative themselves in their own dealings with the GC. This cultural change insists operators apply the same level of resources, technology and research into consumer protection as it currently does to creating new products or advertising and marketing campaigns.
This landmark approach is matched by the GC choosing to publish such a document for the first time. Key is its emphasis on the casino industry carrying out compliant due diligence on its members, particularly those depositing large amounts of money, in order to alleviate the fraud and theft incidents to which cases of problem gambling contribute. A set of good practice measurables in the prevention of anti-money laundering have been implemented as a result, and these are essential in ensuring operators empower and protect its consumers.
The GCs research showed that the public trust and confidence in gambling is declining, with 78% of those surveyed believing there are too many opportunities to gamble, while 69% feel gambling is dangerous to family life. It also shows that 430,000 people in this country are problem gamblers, with up to 2 million classified as ‘at risk’. An increase in customer consideration by operators is a necessary requirement in bringing down these numbers, as is their appropriate training of staff to identify and respond to cases of potential problem gambling in a timely fashion.
There is a clear overlap in the aims of NoWagering and the GCs concern that operators profit from complex and unfair terms and misleading practices, particularly in the online gambling sector, and it is these which no doubt contribute to the alarming figures stated above. Following action by the Competition and Markets Authority earlier this year, Ladbrokes, William Hill, PT Entertainment and BGO all gave undertakings that players won’t be required to play multiple times before withdrawing their own money, and that any gameplay restrictions are clearly stated.
We are very encouraged at the scope and scale of the GCs report, and hope to see the realisation of an improved consumer culture as a result of its conclusions. We pride ourselves on carrying on our site only those operators who are already acting in accordance with the GCs aims, and hope to see the number we promote increase, as they adopt the fairer and better treatment of its users that we advocate and deem necessary for inclusion here. For these reasons, we urge all of our own users to carry on using only those operators that we feature, and to read the GC report in full here.