The UK Gambling Commission spoke about the upcoming changes within the iGaming industry
Speaking at the Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators' keynote at KnowNow's 2021 conference, the executive director of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Tim Miller, commented on the upcoming changes within the iGaming industry that are expected within the next year. He opened by stating “Of course, whilst we continue to take action to raise standards in the gambling industry, it is only right that we look to raise our own standards as well.”
The KnowNow conference focuses on providing up to date and independently researched information regarding the gambling industry from experts. These events are a great chance for everyone within the iGaming industry to share information and help to provide a safer experience for everyone.
“We are not just working in this way to make gambling fairer and safer,” says UKGC
There are upcoming changes to online slots that will come into effect from October 31st 2021 which are set to make gambling safer for players in the UK. These new slot restrictions that come into play next month include slower spins of 2.5 seconds, no autospin feature and no positive noises or animations when players have won on spins that have actually lost them money instead.
“We are not just working in this way to make gambling fairer and safer. We also adopt the same approach to keeping crime out of gambling,” Miller stated during his speech. “One example that illustrates the point is our work around illegal online gambling. The Gambling Commission is alive to this danger and regularly takes action to cut off or shut down these sites.”
“With rapid changes in technology we know we need to be increasingly fleet of foot and may need a broader range of tools to tackle emerging risks. We are pleased that the review of the Gambling Act includes a focus on the powers and resources of the Commission.”
“We won’t legitimise poor practice at home through fear of what might be happening elsewhere,” adds UKGC
The next few steps for the UKGC include identifying key financial risks such as significant losses in a short time and financial vulnerability.
“Industry and others are right to flag the risks that can come from the black market. But the solution to tackling that black market is not to cease taking action to make regulated gambling safer,” added Miller. “We won’t legitimise poor practice at home through fear of what might be happening elsewhere. Making gambling safer and keeping crime out of gambling are not mutually exclusive and we will continue to pursue both of those objectives rigorously.”
He further mentioned the examples of operators who have allowed vulnerable people to gamble amounts that put them at risk with very limited or even no customer interaction until it's too late to help. “Just to be clear, we are not talking about grey areas here. We are talking about significant binge gambling or clearly unaffordable levels of gambling without action being taken,” added Miller.
“Can anyone in this room seriously justify allowing a new customer to lose £10,000 within minutes without any checks or interaction? It is issues such as these that we are seeking to address in our customer interaction proposals.”
UKGC “Aim to permit gambling as long as it is in line with the licencing objectives”
“Going back to our licencing objectives, the Gambling Commission has a duty ‘to aim to permit gambling’ as long as it is in line with the licencing objectives,” said Miller. “But we will not permit operators to continue to place their commercial objectives ahead of customer protection.”
Miller also acknowledged criticism of the UKGC and welcomed the new leadership team with the 2005 Gambling Act Review. “Scrutiny makes for stronger regulation and we will continue to work with Government, our fellow regulators and others to continue raising our own standards further. And I know that our new Chief Executive, Andrew Rhodes, and new Chair, Marcus Boyle, will help bring fresh energy to that,” Miller added.
He concluded the speech by saying: “the message I want you to take away today is a simple one. Whatever else changes, the work to make gambling in Great Britain fairer, safer and crime-free continues.”