UKGC Sets New Rules for At Risk Customers

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission introduced new rules and measures ensuring online gambling businesses follow to identify and protect customers at a higher risk of gambling harm.

The new ruling follows an extensive consultation period highlighting areas in which online gambling operators still fail in regards to taking the necessary steps in preventing and protecting those players more at risk to suffer from possible gambling harm.

The action by the UKGC to correct and ensure a higher rate of success in future is the new set of rules effective from the 12th of September 2022. The more forceful and prescriptive rules by the UK Gambling Commission include flagging indicators and ensuring taking the necessary action to prevent gambling harm in a timely manner. It includes implementing automated processes with strong indicators of harm enabling prompt action in preventing promotions and new bonus offers to at-risk customers.

What Do the New Rules Require from Operators

The new rules serve as action guidance on the requirements gambling operators need to take and is scheduled to be issued in June, well ahead of when the new rules come into effect. The early publication is to help operators understand the requirements and to comply with the new rules. To ensure the success of implementation the UKGC will engage with operators after publication to offer guidance by taking into account any queries received.

The new set of rules requires the following actions from online gambling operators in tackling significant unaffordable gambling:

  • UK Gambling Commission licensees are required to use a range of indicators relevant to the nature of gambling facilities and their customers. The new rules on action for at-risk customers are focused and provided to identify harm or any potential harm related to gambling. Indicators to monitor include: Customer spending, spending patterns, gambling behaviour indicators, player-led contact, account indicators and the use of gambling management tools. The data requires monitoring by operators to ensure early identification of gambling-related harm or possible harm.
  • Online gambling businesses will be required to use flag indicators of harm and to take the necessary action in a timely manner once they identified any harm inflicted on customers.
  • Operators need to implement and use automated processes that are strong indicators of gambling associated harm.
  • UK Gambling Commission licensed operators to need to take steps imperative in prevention of marketing and offering new bonuses to customers at risk.
  • Gambling operators need to evaluate their interactions with consumers to ensure that they interact at a level relevant to the gambling problem.
  • Routine casework by the Gambling Commission will include customer interaction evaluation.
  • All operators must comply with the rules and requirements at all times to ensure compliance by third-party providers.

Why Are These New Rules Necessary

The Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive, Andrew Rhodes shared that enforcement cases indicate repeatedly that some operators still fail in taking the necessary steps needed to put a stop to gambling-related harm. The new rules follow extensive consultation and are developed to make expectations more explicit.

The UKGC expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms linked to gambling with action that is fast proportionate and effective. The commission makes it clear that there will be no hesitation in taking tough action against operators failing to act and comply with the new rules.

How Would These New Rules Affect Responsible Gaming

The UKGC will continue to take into consideration the Government’s gambling act review while working closely with the DCMS. The strengthening of requirements and new regulations on the prevention of problem gambling addresses the inadequacies the UKGC continues to observe amongst online operators. Even though operators are capable of identifying customers at risk of harm, they often fail to act swiftly.

The Commission continues to work towards a safer and fairer online gambling experience, this phase includes more robust rules ensuring online gambling operators do more to identify and protect consumers at risk via implementation of automated gambling harm flag indicators.

United Kingdom Gambling Commission