UKGC Proactively Adapts Regulation to Protect Consumers

Published February 2, 2018 by Lee R

UKGC Proactively Adapts Regulation to Protect Consumers

The UKGC is providing valuable leadership in regulation modelling to the world.

Continuing a novel and promising approach, the UK Gambling Commission UKGC has requested public feedback on new regulatory changes it is considering to online gambling policy.

Bringing Stakeholders In

The interactive process equitably brings the stakeholders into the process, with consumers, gambling businesses, stakeholders and members of the public all invited by the UKGC to provide thoughts on proposed updates to UKGC rules covering areas such as marketing and advertising, unfair terms, and complaints and disputes.

Proposal Goals

The UKGC is adapting measures to enhance complaint handling and increase compliance with specific focus on UK Advertising Codes for consumer protection.

UKGC Spokesperson Speaks

UKGC executive director Sarah Gardner outlined her organisation’s position, saying: “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.”

Gardner further welcomed public feedback from any and all stakeholders, stating that her organisation is nothing short of “keen to hear the views” of all stakeholders.

Feedback Window

The latest changes are being proposed as part of a wider program for change and adaptive legislation requiring the collaboration of all regulators, industry and partners, with the current window for feedback open until April 22.  They are being issued as part of the UKGC’s three-year consumer strategy.

New Measures on the Table

Specific proposals being offered up for consideration include a new requirement to prevent consumers from receiving spam marketing either by email or SMS; clarifying current protections against misleading advertising; and underscoring to licensees their responsibility for the actions of the third-party organisations whose services they employ as well. 

Public Focus

The measures are aimed at addressing continued declining trust in gambling, with the UKGC emphasizing that licensees need to be vigilant about consumer protection in all phases, not just in designing marketing materials, with failure susceptible to heavy fines.     

Current Problem Gambler Data

The need for consumer protection in the iGaming sector remains apparent, and stretches to close family members of problem gamblers as well. Research reveals that up to 4.3 million family members, friends and work colleagues of an estimated 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK suffer “knock-on issues such as problem debt and the breakdown of relationships,” with only 8,800 problem gamblers receiving any formal support last year.

Outlook of Leadership

The proactive nature of research, legislative adaptation, and consumer protection all exemplifies the leadership role in adaptation that the governing body of iGaming’s strongest marketplace is taking, and bodes well for the future of legislative adaptation across Europe and as far beyond as possible.

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