Following their review of the Gambling Act 2005, the UK Gambling Commission has published their recommendations.
On Thursday 27th April, the UK Gambling Commission provided its long-awaited advice to the government, based on their scrupulous review of the Gambling Act 2005. The report outlines several recommendations to update and strengthen gambling regulations in the UK, which will have implications for the gambling industry as a whole, and especially online gambling providers, and how they communicate with their customers, and ultimately how they must responsibly look after their interests. Many of the recommendations will soon become enshrined in law, so the most forward thinking among Compliance Officers in those organisations will be urgently planning their strategies for ensuring their business remain at the forefront of safe and responsible iGaming.
One of the key recommendations in the report is the introduction of a new “affordability check” for customers. This means that gambling operators will be required to assess a customer’s financial situation and gambling habits before allowing them to deposit large sums of money or engage in high-stakes gambling. This measure aims to prevent customers from experiencing preventable harm due to gambling-related debt or financial instability. The concept of affordability checks is not new to the gambling industry, as land-based casinos have been required to conduct similar checks for some time. However, the introduction of affordability checks for online gambling will be a significant development, as it would require operators to monitor customer behaviour in real-time and intervene when necessary. If they don’t have adequate systems already in place to monitor & intervene quickly enough, it could snowball into a big problem very quickly.
In addition to affordability checks, the report also recommends stricter regulations around online advertising, particularly for products that may appeal to vulnerable individuals, such as free-to-play games and bonuses. It also calls for enhanced consumer protections, by significantly strengthening the requirements on operators to identify customers at risk of harm and take appropriate and timely action.
Overall, these recommendations strongly suggest that online gambling providers are going to have to take a much more proactive approach to customer care, with a greater focus on identifying and mitigating potential risks to customers. There will need to be a period of investment across people, processes, data, and technology, to support better affordability checks and increased consumer protections, as well as training and support for staff to help them identify and respond to customers who may be experiencing harm. There are many shining lights in the iGaming community already in this regard, but in an evolving online world with shifting consumer habits during a cost-of-living crisis, providing a safe and responsible space for customers to gamble as a leisure activity, remains a journey, not a destination.
The full report can be read here, and if you’d like to have an open and friendly chat about how we might be able to help you implement changes to your iGaming CX stack as part of a managed and measured roadmap of activity, we’d love to hear from you.