The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) recently put forward a proposal to change its License Conditions and Codes of Practice. These regulations are the foundations of the gambling industry in the United Kingdom and any changes to these regulations will greatly affect the gambling industry in the country.
In a statement, Sarah Gardner, executive director of the UKGC, stated the reasons for the planned changes
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.
These changes include a new requirement to prevent customers from being pestered by SMS and e-mail messages, clearer instructions about advertising requirements and making clear that gambling operators are responsible for their third-party contractors' behavior. Increased customer protection is the focus of these changes. Additionally, there are changes to how customer complaints are handled. The change introduces an eight-week time limit to how long licensees can have before they respond.
The UKGC is dedicated to ensuring that these proposals, once implemented should be followed. To do that, the commission will use its powers to the fullest to punish any operators that violate these requirements. This ranges from heavy fees to the eventual loss of their gambling license.
The UKGC launched in 2017 a three year program that focused on protecting the public from the negative effects of the gambling industry. The UK has been plagued by reports of an increase in problem gambling, especially with regards to children. Last year, a study by the commission revealed that more than two million people in the UK are either at risk of gambling addiction or are already suffering from gambling addiction.
As part of its hope to make the situation better, the UKGC is opening itself to comments and suggestions to its proposals. This consultation process is part of its hope to get in touch with its customers, licensees and other parties. It will stay open up until April 22, 2018.
There has already been a response to the solicitation for feedback. Citizens Advice, a UK charity network has submitted a report to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport on the negative impact of gambling beyond that of the original gambler. The report states that up to 4.3 million family members, friends, and work colleagues suffer from knock-on effects of gambling addiction.
Besides the report, Citizens Advice has called for a ban on online credit card deposits for gambling. Additionally, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is hoping to lower the maximum wagers at fixed-odds betting terminals to as low as £2, while requiring UK gambling operators to increase their contribution to charities that help with gambling addiction.