Gambling Commission proposes changes to licensing code

The UK Gambling Commission has proposed a number of changes to its licence conditions and codes of practice with the aim of making gambling ‘more fair and open’ for consumers.

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The UK Gambling Commission is inviting consultation from the public to its licence changes. © Wikipedia.

The proposed changes address compliance with advertising codes, ensuring operators comply with consumer protection legislation, and improving how operators handle complaints.

To meet these goals, the Commission has proposed a raft of new codes. Preventing operators sending spam email and SMS and the introduction of an eight-week time-frame for operators to respond to gambling complaints are two of the proposed methods put forward.

The proposed changes could also see operators being fined if they don’t adhere to advertising codes for the first time.

The Commission has invited consumers, stakeholders and members of the public to consult their opinions on the regulation changes. The consultation began on 25th January and will continue up until the 22 April 2018.

Speaking about the proposed licensing changes, Sarah Gardner, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said:

We are proposing these changes because of the risk of consumer harm, concern about lack of compliance with consumer protection legislation, declining public trust in gambling and concerns about advertising. We’re very keen to hear the views of all those with an interest in the gambling industry.Sarah Gardner, executive director at the Gambling Commission

The Commission has voiced its concern that public trust in gambling is declining and that a better deal for customers is required. Consumer protection is an ongoing area of concern which many industry bodies have relayed on to the Commission, so the proposed changes to the Commission’s licence conditions and code of practice may be a direct response to some of these complaints.

On the topic of a fair deal for all customers, this week, a House of Lords committee heard a packed debate around the issue of bookmakers closing the accounts or banning winning customers. The committee touched on the idea of introducing a minimum bet, such as already implemented for horse racing in Australia, as a way to guarantee equal treatment for all customers.

SkyBet chief executive, Richard Flint, spoke at the committee, and was not totally dismissive of the idea. While Flint suggested that operators may be open to the idea, he also warned that it will come at the expense of other popular offers, while stating that only a very small percentage of users have their accounts closed or restricted.

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