UKGC Announces Heightens Standards for Online Gambling Operators
As the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) promised a week ago, when the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced its own impending enforcement actions against an unknown number of gambling operators, the UKGC has now released its heightened standards designed to increase consumer protections for the UK’s punting public.
The UKGC’s statement goes hand in hand with the CMA’s legal crackdown with the latter focusing on select operators who have intentional marketed their services with misleading and confusing promotional offers or who have placed artificial roadblocks in the way of bettors trying to withdraw their online funds.
The implementation of the heightened standards follows both the initial investigation into the alleged consumer-protection problems, which was started by the CMA last October with UKGC input, and a consultation call issued earlier this year by the Gambling Commission once the need for tightened protocols became clear.
According to a UKGC statement, the “new measures will enhance protections in place by helping consumers make informed decisions about their online gambling activity.”
UK-licensed online operators will be required to do the following:
The new Gambling Commission requirements mean remote operators must:
- Ensure consumers are able to directly access 3 months’ worth of account and gambling information, with a minimum period of 12 months available on request;
- Ensure account and gambling history provides easy to understand totals for a defined period (for example, the ability to be able to view transaction history for the previous two months);
- Give consumers access to information about their net deposits (e.g: the running total of all deposits minus the sum of all withdrawals);
- Allow consumers to set financial limits across their entire gambling account as well as individual games.
These requirements will go into effect on April 1st, 2018. Additioal requirements regarding how “information” (the catch-all word to describe all the terminology in the misleading and confusing sign-up language) is to be presented will go into effect sooner, on October 1st, 2017.
According to Sharon McNair, programme director for the Gambling Commission, “Consumers must be able to make informed decisions about their online gambling activity.
“The findings of our recent consultation indicate that there are differences in approach amongst licensees in relation to the level of information available to their consumers and the ease by which that information is accessible. The new requirements seek to address this and ensure greater consistency in the information available to consumers regardless of who they choose to gamble with.
“Gambling operators must see beyond the bottom line, and ensure both new and existing gambling products are effectively managing the risks to the licensing objectives, keeping gambling safe and fair for all.
“Innovation and technological advancement continues to drive growth in the £4.5-billion a year online gambling market,” added McNair. :We are seeing operators developing new gambling products and technologies every day – something that it is vital to the further advancement of the sector.
“But as the industry transforms, operators are reminded that we too will continue to adapt our regulation to raise standards across all gambling sectors and enhance the protections available for consumers.”