UKGC to Rethink National Responsible Gambling Strategy

A chess strategy in practice.

As the Unite Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) mulls how to heighten consumer safety standards across the iGaming and betting industries, the watchdog is now officially inviting contributions to help build a resilient and helpful legal framework.

UK’s National Responsible Gambling Strategy

The UKGC is planning to introduce a National Responsible Gambling Strategy, which will come into effect in 2019. As a result, the UK’s watchdog is inviting contributions to help finalize the security measure.

With gambling often being a divisive topic, the UKGC will seek to act on the opinion on as many people and organizations as it can. The official statement appeals to people to submit their proposals by February 15, focusing on five specific areas which will serve as pivots of the future gambling strategy.

The UKGC expects to work on “research to inform action”, “prevention”, “treatment”, “evaluation”, and “gambling businesses”. All of this will require hands-on experience as well as theoretical understanding of the acting laws in the country.

What immediately strikes is the Commission’s decision to reduce the area around which it wants to build its future national responsibility strategy. Previously, the UKGC acted on a three-year plan (due to expire in March, 2019) which featured 12 key areas.

The UKGC is also slightly shifting its focus from targeting operators exclusively and starting to pay closer attention to a number of institutions in the chain that exist to ensure that the industry’s standards are upheld.

According to the Commission, it has collected viable data from the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), which recently appointed a new chair, prompting it to involve others in the process, including treatment providers, commissioning organizations, and more.

Engagement with key players in the industry is essential for the successful application of the practices that the UKGC champions, the commission told iGaming Business, a respected media outlet.

While we do not wish to prejudge the outcome of the consultation, we hope that responses will focus on ways that we, and other bodies with a role to play, can make real progress towards reducing gambling harms. – UKGC

One of the main reasons to initiate the changes, other than the expiry of the acting program, has been Regulus Partners’ assessment of the efforts put into upholding the social responsibility standards pertaining to the gambling industry.

According to the consultancy, while the UKGC’s efforts have been well-intended, operators have never really considered the acting regulatory framework to be their own strategy of developing their business and protecting consumers in the process.

Weak engagement with the industry at the outset meant that operators never truly considered it to be their strategy – Regulus Partners

The consultancy ended up calling the 2016-2019 responsible strategy a collection of noble aspirations rather than a real strategy that can be delivered and applied.

The UKGC has not stood idly by in light of the revelations. The Commission is intensifying its collaboration with the tax office and police as well as the market authority body, the Competition Markets Authority.

One significant change that has been achieved in the recent past is the collaboration between the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the UKGC, with the Commission stiffening the penalties that apply to any company that has fallen short of the necessary advertisement standards.


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