UKGC to Step Up Regulatory Efforts

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The United Kingdom may have indeed become one of the best places to do business when it comes to the iGaming industry. With licenses have been issued en masse, many operators have managed to find their feet in the age-old industry. Of course, the sugar rush for casinos and bookmakers has created the need to mitigate any potential pernicious effect of the industry thereof.

The country saw fit to assign this task to the UK Gambling Commission and NGO initiatives of the stature of GambleAware. While the UK remains as open and welcoming to the gambling industry as ever, there’s a sudden change in the sentiments.

The Commission and government are now both moving to rein in some of the common practices that have been taken for granted by operators for a rather long time now.

A Much Awaited Call to Action

However complacent, the UK Gambling Commission has not been blind. In true British spirit, it had rather opted not to intervene and disrupt the business, hoping that the joint initiatives it has undertaken with GambleAware and health specialists would communicate its message clearly to operators.

However, mildly unethical practices have continued, and the UKGC had seen itself strongarmed into action. Just recently, the UKGC published a report describing problems such as “money laundering” and poor gambler protection among five leading operators.

The call to action is, in fact, a mild warning that things will have to change if operators expect to continue their business without taking heavy hits on their businesses. This is not an autocratic move by the regulators in the slightest. It’s a friendly invitation for operators to finally start taking their social responsibilities seriously if they wish to retain their privileged status.

A Look at the Numbers

The UKGC has all the reason to want gamblers and “punters,” as the British slang for someone who bets on sports goes, to be protected. More transparency has been long called for. Signalling that someone has been spending too much on an operator has been a tacitly accepted condition, but few operators, if any at all, have been enforcing it in good faith.

One study has indicated that 63% of all people in the UK gambled in 2017, which is a rather worrying figure. Of course, the number of problem gamblers has been kept at the check and the responsible gambling campaigns have been largely successful. However, the UKGC wants operators to do more.

Between 2017 and so far in 2018, the regulator has managed to amass GBP18 million in fees it took from operators who have been caught redhanded. Speaking of red, 32Red, a much-trusted operator was also fined GBP2 million just one month when news surfaced that the operator had systematically and intentionally failed to help a problem gambling get out of a dangerous rut.

The moral implications for the brand’s name resulting from such behavior are quite dreadful. This is why the UKGC is now putting its card on the table. If operators want to do business in the UK, things will have to change.

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