All of this led to UK gambling regulators feeling their oats and dishing out fresh warnings to gambling regulators in Great Britain. The gist? Become more responsible, or face punishment.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released a document on Tuesday detailing its new strategy over the next three years to ensure “fairer and safer gambling” in the UK.
It aims to do this by delivering five strategic priorities:
- Protect the interests of consumers
- Prevent harm to consumers and the public
- Raise standards in the gambling market
- Optimise returns to good causes from lotteries
- Improve the way we regulate
How will the Gambling Commission achieve this?
We’ve already seen the UKGC take prominent action throughout 2017. The group imposed large fines upon the likes of Gala Interactive, Stan James Online, BGO Entertainment, and lottery betting operator Lottoland.
888 Holdings received the largest financial punishment of all back in August – a record-breaking £7.8 million.
Operators will now be required to give customers more information about the risks of gambling, as well as provide greater control over their ability to manage their gambling activity.
The online gambling sites will also need to handle customer complaints and disputes better moving forward. Moreover, operators will have to provide “well evidenced advice” to the government and the UKGC so that they can take “precautionary action where necessary” against operators failing to abide by the UKGC’s standards.
Why are lotteries under the microscope?
There seems to be a greater focus from the UKGC on “optimizing returns to good causes from lotteries.” It’s not hard to understand why this is the case. After all, the document states that 46 percent of people play the National Lottery. The money which isn’t put into a prize pot should therefore go to the best possible causes.
The strategy hopes to deliver “a healthy National Lottery for customers and good causes,” which calls into question Lottoland’s motives.
Lottoland doesn’t offer bets on National Lottery draws, but it was recently under investigation as part of third-party betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws. As a result, this meant less lottery funds were being put aside for good social causes.
Key data from the UKGC document
Some of the key data points offered in the document include:
- 63 percent of the UK population gambled in the past 12 months
- More than 46 percent of people play the National Lottery
- 34 percent of the UK population agree gambling is fair and can be trusted, down from 49 percent in 2008
- 18 percent of the UK population gamble online, with 29% gambling via mobile
- 0.8 percent of the UK population are considered problem gamblers
- One in ten men aged 16-34 are at risk