UKGC’s Tim Miller highlights topics for next white paper consultations

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The UK Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, Tim Miller, has highlighted the topics that will be covered in the next batch of consultations for the UK gambling white paper.

Speaking earlier this week at the Regulating the Game Conference, Miller noted that the UKGC was pleased with the response it had received from gambling stakeholders regarding its first tranche of consultations.

Remaining open until October 18, the commission has received over 1,800 responses so far for its consultations on age verification on premises; removing features which increase the intensity of play on non-slots casino games online; cross-selling, specifically giving the consumer more direct marketing power; and financial risk and vulnerability checks.

The UKGC Executive Director also spotlighted the further clarification published by CEO Andrew Rhodes regarding financial risk checks, to clear up the misunderstandings surrounding the proposals in the white paper and what they mean.

Looking ahead, Miller noted that the next round of consultations, set to begin in early winter, will focus on socially responsible incentives and gambling management tools.

The socially responsible incentives consultation will focus on “ensuring that incentives like bonuses and free bets are constructed in a socially responsible manner that does not exacerbate the risk of harm”.

Meanwhile, a gambling management tools dialogue will analyse “whether it is appropriate to make online deposit limits mandatory or opt-out rather than opt-in”.

Miller added that further consultation discussion by the UKGC is also expected in the new year.

“The white paper has over 60 areas of work and … we are clear this will likely take a number of years to fully complete”

He also touched upon the deliverables and recommendations that the commission is working on, but made it clear that the work on the white paper is going to take some time to complete.

“The white paper has over 60 areas of work and at the gambling commission we are clear this will likely take a number of years to fully complete,” the Executive Director said.

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t make rapid progress in a number of key areas and as many of you will already be aware of, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing over the summer.”

While the UKGC recognises that there is a lot of work to complete, it believes that the current pace it is moving at is “achievable”, as it allows the commission “to balance implementation of the white paper recommendations with the needs of others whose views we want as part of those consultations”.

Reported progress made on the 60-plus deliverables includes a new online hub offering guidance to operators on how they should work with third parties including white-label partners, a statement on vulnerability and gambling, as well as the multi-operator data-sharing scheme, GamProtect.

Contributing to improving data and evidence base for white paper implementation, the UKGC also noted that its new participation and prevalence survey, the Gambling Survey of Great Britain, will launch early next year. 

The commission said that this will be the largest of its type in the world and will be the “gold standard for participation and prevalence data in Great Britain, with updated questions for the digital age and predictable, regular data for study” to drive improved regulation.

“…the Gambling Act review is perhaps the best opportunity to make evidence-based changes to the way gambling is regulated in Great Britain”

Miller stated: “We’ve been testing and refining the methodology since we published the results of the pilot and have been updating the stakeholder groups who helped us design it – from operators, academics and lived experience – along the way.”

The UKGC also highlighted the DCMS’ consultations for the white paper which are open until October 4 – a maximum stake limit for online slots games in Great Britain, as well as measures relating to the land-based gambling sector. In addition, the DCMS will be leading upcoming consultations on the statutory levy.

The commission also reminded the gambling industry that it is responsible for the delivery of the white paper, providing support and scrutiny to “deliver what is expected”. GamProtect development from the commission’s challenge to deliver single customer view, as well as work with the Betting and Gaming Council regarding data security were spotlighted.

Work on setting up an ombudsman was an area highlighted by the UKGC Executive Director as where the industry is leading. However, he noted that the commission will be taking note and providing analysis of any proposals to the DCMS, adding it will not support any proposals by the industry if they do not meet the accepted standard.

Miller concluded: “I started today stating that the Gambling Act review is perhaps the best opportunity to make evidence-based changes to the way gambling is regulated in Great Britain since the 2005 Act was passed.

“That it is an unmissable opportunity to make gambling safer, fairer and crime-free. So now is the time to push on and make sure that over the next couple of years, we make the most of it.”

Earlier this month, the UKGC also established an Industry Forum that will feature members of the gambling industry, offering insight into the views of operators, working alongside other initiatives and advisory groups in assisting the commission with evidence-led work.