UK regulator’s new strategy to ensure “fairer” gambling market
UK gambling operators have been given fresh warnings to up their responsibility game or face the wrath of UK gambling regulators.
On Tuesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released a document (viewable here) outlining its three-year strategy to ensure “fairer and safer gambling” in the UK. The document details a five-pronged approach toward shaping “a well-regulated gambling market that works for consumers.”
Chief among these priorities is protecting consumers’ interests, in part by imposing “tougher and broader sanctions on operators (including lotteries) who fail to treat customers fairly and make gambling safe.”
The UKGC has significantly ramped up its enforcement game this year, identifying regulatory shortcomings by and imposing hefty fines on Gala Interactive, Stan James Online, BGO Entertainment, lottery betting operator Lottoland and a record £7.8m knuckle-rapping of 888 Holdings in August.
The other planks of the UKGC’s strategy include requiring operators to provide more information about the risks of gambling and better controls to manage gambling activity; ensuring effective and independent arrangements to resolve consumer complaints and disputes; and improving the UKGC’s own regulatory activity by providing “well evidenced advice” to the government and taking “precautionary action where necessary” against operators that fail to live up to the UKGC’s exacting standards.
The UKGC is also focusing on “optimizing returns to good causes from lotteries,” in part by regulating in a way “that delivers a healthy National Lottery for customers and good causes.”
That could spell trouble for Lottoland, which, although it doesn’t offer bets on National Lottery draws, was already feeling the heat after the UK government announced this spring that it was investigating third-party betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws in part due to the alleged negative impact on lottery funds earmarked for social causes.