UK Gambling Commission

UKGC Offers Business Plan for 2018-19 Fiscal Year

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released its business and operational plan for the recently-begun 2018-19 fiscal year. This is the first of three annual plans that were announced last November as part of a strengthened structuring of the Gambling Commission’s own future investigations, initiatives and goals.

UK Gambling CommissionAs expected, consumer-protection interests rank high on the UKGC’s list. There are actually five area on which the Commission will focus over the coming year:

  • Protecting the interests of consumers;
  • Preventing harm to consumers and the public;
  • Raising standards in the gambling market;
  • Optimizing returns to good causes from lotteries;
  • Improving the way the Commission regulates.

Each of the five areas includes multiple projects that will receive attention over the course of this fiscal year, which began in April, with benchmarks provided as to when the industry and the gambling public can expect these objectives to be reached. Among the projects at the top of the UKGC’s list are the following:

  • Key milestones for our core functions of advising, licensing and regulating;
  • Specific projects, which we expect to complete during 2018-19;
  • Foundation work in preparation for delivery in the second and third years of the strategy.

According to William Moyes, Chair of the Gambling Commission, “Our ambitious plans for the next 12 months and beyond are designed to enable us to continue to respond to emerging risks and issues in a way that balances consumer choice and enjoyment with the risks associated with gambling, and the impact on wider society.

“Our strategy and plans will deliver real change for consumers, the gambling industry and for us as the regulator. Our aim is to make gambling fairer and safer and to raise standards across the industry.”

Timelines Set for Initiative Completion

Each of the five general areas listed above receives further detail in the full business plan, which describes when specific projects are expected to reach completion. For instance, under the category of “Protect the interests of consumers,” the plan offers this, with the quarter of the 2018-19 fiscal year that results are expected in parentheses:

  • Strengthen rules on advertising, unfair terms and practices, and complaints and disputes, subject to a consultation on Licence conditions and codes of practice [LCCP] (Q2);
  • Assess the effectiveness of protection in place, and proposed, for National Lottery players in relation to identified best practice (Q2);
  • Establish a standing focus group of consumers to test policy ideas (Q3);
  • Introduce additional requirements for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers, and review providers using new standards (Q3);
  • Set out our approach to reviewing how we make sure that the industry meets the licensing objectives in full (Q3);
  • Track key consumer metrics and public attitudes to gambling (Q4);
  • Explore public attitudes towards gambling advertising and support research which considers the impact of gambling advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people (Q4).

The list of initiatives for all five areas can be found inside the full 2018-19 plan, available here.

In the business plan’s foreword, UKGC chair Moyer reemphasized that protecting consumers remains at the forefront of the agency’s self-defined mission. As Moyer wrote, “For consumers, we want to see improved controls more generally. Specifically the industry designing in protections and control measures right from the start of product development. We also want to improve choice and accelerate the progress that operators are already making on interventions to help better understand their customers – with a clear emphasis on what works.”

Added Moyer, “We are committed to better understanding the public health impact of problematic gambling and these plans reflect that. We are also committed to building and developing relationships with stakeholders, including other regulators, to raise standards across the market.”

Moyer had words for operators as well, stating, “We also want to do more to help operators to meet their responsibilities to better address the needs of consumers, and to deal more effectively with the things that customers want and demand. We will challenge ourselves to improve the way we regulate – setting and meeting the same high standards we expect of others.”

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