May 1, 2024 3 min read

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UKGC Unveils Extensive Changes to Enhance Safety and Consumer Choice

The regulator’s updated policies represent a pivotal step in the UK’s ongoing efforts to overhaul its gambling legislation to answer rising consumer safety challenges

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced widespread changes to bolster safety measures and enhance consumer choice in the gambling sector. These changes, aligned with the government’s white paper on gambling reform for the digital age, will be implemented in four stages between August 2024 and February 2025.

New Features Prioritize Gambling Harm Prevention

Among the milestone changes are measures to reduce the intensity of online games, enhance consumer control over receiving gambling marketing, implement light-touch financial vulnerability checks, and strengthen processes for age verification checks on premises. Operators will also be required to display consumers’ real-time net spend and time spent gambling.

Andrew Rhodes, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, emphasized the importance of evidence-based decision-making and stakeholder input in implementing these regulatory changes. He highlighted the need to strike a balance between protecting individuals from gambling-related harm while respecting the freedom of adults to engage in regulated gambling activities responsibly.

We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm.

Andrew Rhodes, UKGC CEO

Other changes will require all land-based licensees to conduct age verification test purchasing, and staff will need to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25. Furthermore, the UKGC will expand the operator staff management roles expected to hold a personal management license, ensuring that gambling businesses maintain safe, fair, and crime-free operations.

New Features Prioritize Gambling Harm Prevention

Initially, the “light touch” financial risk checks will affect customers depositing over £500 ($625) per month, gradually reducing to £150 ($187) by February 2025. These checks will utilize publicly available data without requiring personal details such as postcode or job title. This approach reflects feedback from industry stakeholders and users, ensuring that operators can adapt to these new requirements.

In response to consumer feedback, the UKGC will also conduct a six-month pilot of frictionless financial risk assessments designed to prevent instances where customers can spend large amounts rapidly without undergoing adequate checks, leading to significant gambling harm. The pilot aims to refine data-sharing processes before introducing these changes in a live environment.

These comprehensive changes reflect the UKGC’s commitment to enhancing consumer protection and ensuring a safer gambling environment for all individuals involved in the gambling sector. The regulator remains one of the primary driving forces behind the UK white paper, and its insights into gambling-related harm form the cornerstone of the country’s updated policies.

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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