UK Policymaker Urges Gambling Bosses to Protect Vulnerable Players

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Minister Nigel Huddleston has sent a letter to gambling bosses in the UK, reminding them to enact safeguards and protect vulnerable players stuck at home.

Operators Reminded to Enact Better Safeguards for Vulnerable Players

On Monday, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston sent a letter to the CEOs of the biggest gambling companies in the United Kingdom. The letter was addressed to William Hill, Bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC Holdings, and The Stars Group’s Sky Betting & Gaming and sought to remind the operators that they were responsible to ensure that online gamblers are safe during the lockdown period.

Huddleston insisted that “responsible gambling,” should be given more attention and focus. Specifically, Huddleston called for more efforts on the part of operators across all verticals to protect vulnerable players.

He gave operators the heads-up that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the country’s regulator, would send a data request on how operators could ensure the safety of players and safeguard against potential harms.

Huddleston explained that fulfilling the request was in the operator’s best interest and should be treated as a priority. At the same time, Huddleston insisted that operators explain how they would meet their responsible gambling goals in the light of falling gambling revenue and the absence of sports betting operations.

He reminded operators that the government had taken measures to help their business and that it was a crucial time and authorities and gambling companies should work together.

GambleAware Reaches Funding Milestone

In the meantime, GambleAware has hit its £10 million funding goal, the first time that the organization has hit its funding milestone. Through the fiscal year ending on March 31, GambleAware collected £10.05 million, improving on the 2018/19 fiscal year when £9.6 million were contributed.

GambleAware also received estimated £1.44 million in funding from penalties imposed by the Gambling Commission. Among the affected brands for the period were LeoVegas and Gamesys. Despite the fines, responsible gambling in the United Kingdom has improved significantly.  Operators have come under a lot of pressure to both meet tax and donation goals while continually hammered with stricter and more demanding regulations.

Caesars Entertainment was hit with £13 million penalty earlier this month and MansionBet, another popular operator, is now under scrutiny from the regulator as the company reportedly accepted redundancy pay from a customer, and extended VIP perks.

MansionBet said that upon having the company’s senior management examine the case of an anonymous gambler named Matt, there were no irregularities and all regulatory measures had been met.

However, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has objected to MansionBet’s interpretation of events, saying that MansionBet was not a member of the organization. The case has prompted the UKGC to take another look at VIP schemes and even consider whether they should be suspended altogether.

The BGC objected, though, against a report by Sunday Times claiming that UK-based companies were targeted stuck-at-home gamblers in a bid to bring them back. The BGC has dismissed the report arguing that no member of its network would engage in such practices.

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