Gambling Commission Issues Responsible Gambling Reminder

The UK’s gambling regulator has acknowledged the “enormous challenge” of remote working but has reminded operators of Covid-19 requirements

As England enters its second spell of lockdown, the UK Gambling Commission has told operators not to lose focus on mandatory responsible gambling and compliance rules that are in place.

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UKGC reminds operators of Covid-19 requirements ©Pixabay.

The Commission released a statement in which UKGC CEO Neil McArthur acknowledged the “enormous challenges” of moving to a remote-working environment but reiterated the regulator’s stance on the responsibility of operators to remain alert to increased vulnerability among players affected by the imposed shutdown.

He added: “It is vital that all operators play their part in keeping their customers safe and we will be continuing to conduct our compliance assessments during this month-long lockdown,”

“As was the case during the first lockdown, we know that there are likely to be significant numbers of people, particularly people from the retail and hospitality sectors, who will be at home for at least the next four weeks. “In light of these recent developments and while I recognise the enormous daily challenges businesses are facing, I want to highlight again our expectations around customer safety.”

The Gambling Commission maintained its view that customer safety must remain the focus for the second lockdown period and encouraged casino and sports betting operators to be “very mindful” of its impact on customers. The UK’s trade body that represents the interests of the gaming industry, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) responded by re-affirmed their 10-pledge Covid action plan to protect staff and customers as the second national lockdown in England gets underway.

On their website, they address concerns from pressure groups and the media that the new lockdown would encourage those that usually use betting shops and casinos, which are now closed under the new lockdown rules, would instead turn to online gambling services. They state that all members, which account to the majority of UK facing remote operators, had signed up to an action plan.

These include an increase in safer gambling messages, the active promotion of deposit limits and welfare checks for staff. Also included is a pledge that 20% of advertisements would be safer gambling themed commercials, a continuation of the whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports broadcasts, and action to further prevent under-18s from seeing betting adverts online.

These Betting and Gaming Council pledges are;

  • Increase safer gambling messages across all sites and direct to all customers.
  • Step up interventions if customers increase time and spend beyond normal pre-crisis patterns.
  • Actively promote deposit limits.
  • Action to ensure appropriate and responsible advertising including monitoring volume.
  • Report all illegal, rogue advertising from black market online operators.
  • One-strike-and-you’re-out policy where affiliates breach pledges.
  • Signpost help to GAMCARE and the National Gambling Helpline and GamStop for self-exclusion.
  • Ongoing commitment to ensuring funding for Research Education and Treatment (RET).
  • Welfare checks and well-being help for staff.
  • Supporting the Government’s ‘National Effort’ with volunteers and facilities.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said of the Councils pledges: “Our members did not hesitate to sign up to our 10-pledge action plan in March and I am delighted that they have done so again as we, regrettably, go back into some form of lockdown, admittedly with far fewer restrictions this time.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and welfare of our staff and customers, and these pledges make very clear the standards expected of our members in the coming weeks.

“This is further evidence of our commitment, ahead of the Government’s Review, to driving up standards across our industry, as well as our members’ strong support to supporting the national effort to defeat Covid-19.”

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