UKGC reveals plans to safeguard children from gambling

Copyright: maxxyustas / 123RF Stock Photo

The Gambling Commission has outlined fresh plans to make gambling online in Britain safer than ever before.

A key focus of the new plans involves further protecting children from potentially being exposed to gambling, by banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined, as well as increasing the efficiency of the age verification processes.

The group pointed towards statistics that detailed industry profits from the sector have grown 10% to 4.7bn in the last year, and public participation has increased from 15.5% in 2014 to 18.3% in 2017. With it also being estimated that nine million people across Britain gamble online.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, commented: “Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and we are continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers.

“The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”

Another key proposal of the new plans is to elevate the quality of the complaints and disputes procedures that are offered by operators, whilst also improving the relationship between operators and bettors, by ceasing to allow unacceptable marketing and advertising and unfair terms. Additionally strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be experiencing, or are at risk of developing, problems with their gambling.

Tracey Crouch Minister for Sport and Civil Society added: “We are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling.”

Detailing five aspects where the Commission will further work during the coming year. The Commission outlined that it’s going to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the current tools available to consumers to manage their gambling
  • Review gambling product characteristics to identify whether particular features pose greater risk of harm than others
  • Review our requirements on the protection of customer funds and consider whether there are sufficient protections around dormant accounts
  • Consider whether gambling on credit should continue to be permitted
  • Consider whether we need to make changes to ensure that consumers can withdraw funds more easily.