UKGC Continues to Clamp Down on Failure to Prevent AddictionPublished January 16, 2020 by Lee R
The revamping of the UKGC guidelines spurs operators to seek new avenues to prevent addiction before the fact.
New data has the UK issuing directives for operators to improve relations with high rollers.
Too Much Incentive?
Upon successful submission of a Freedom of Information Request, the Guardian newspaper obtained information from and collected by the Gambling Commission revealing membership programs that reward gamblers for depositing large sums with benefits such as free bets, cashback and prizes.
The upshot is a disproportion: 3% deposits from VIPS accounting for 2% of total customer population.
More Gambling Commission data reveals that study that VIP gamblers are more vulnerable to addiction, with an estimated 8% of the country’s 47,000 VIPs designated problem gamblers, a figure 11 times the rate of the wider non-VIP public.
Awarding of VIP status is now the basis for 7 out of 10 failure to prevent penalties issued to operators by the UKGC.
Onus on Operators
A UKGC spokesman confirmed to the Guardian that actions to address aforementioned practices are underfoot, promising his organisation “will be even tougher (on operators) if (interaction with VIP practices) do not change.”
Addressing a Social Problem
Constructive expertise was offered by GambleAware CEO Marc Etches to iGamingBusiness.com:
“We encourage gambling companies to promote and inform all customers including VIP customers about the free help and advice that is available via the National Gambling Helpline and online at BeGambleAware.org."
It appears operators should start relying on social support supplements such as BeGambleAware.org to stay ahead of the curve in understanding where they might unwittingly fall afoul of increasingly stringent UKGC accountability for preying on vulnerabilities.
The greater standard of accountability will be established after the UK government completes its scheduled overhaul of the original online gaming regulation 2005 Gambling Act with the mandate to “legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”
Revamping online regulation in the UKGC requires operators to be more proactive in seeking out resources for guidance on operating policy. Operators further need to exercise common sense, and recognize where they could be seen by data and in practice to be exploiting a specific customer segment so they appear to be making money on that segment's vulnerability to addiction.
It's not easy, but it will be cost effective.