Uk Online Gambling Regulations Have Been Updated
Uk Online Gambling Regulations Have Been Updated
UK casinos are set to see yet more changes to the way they operate online in a bid to protect consumers.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is way ahead of the ball when it comes to its £5 billion industry, and it has kept its reputation online.
The new regulations have been put in place following an investigation led by the UKGC, industry stakeholders and regulatory agencies on how to further advance the already-booming sector.
All casino sites and app software developers have now been given an outline of the new regulations they must abide by under law.
Preventing underage gambling
The first rule in place is set to prevent people under the age of 16 from accessing online gambling.
The UKGC is not prepared to turn a blind eye to the thousands of children who access online games at the click of a button each day and has implemented further verification rules.
Players will now have to have their age approved by casino operators before placing any bets.
Until now, casinos had been given 72 hours to identify underage gamblers after they commenced play.
It is hoped this will also stop parents from losing large amounts of money by preventing children from using their bank cards and online accounts such as Paypal.
Casino operators are also under order to verify the age of anyone collecting winnings to ensure no one has slipped through the system. The same age check rules already apply to free online games.
Improving privacy and customer service
The second new rule from the UKGC is less about the games themselves, and more about protecting the customers who play them.
UK online casinos are now under regulation to update both their privacy and cookie policies.
The UKGC has also requested that casinos stick to asking the most basic information about their customers to protect their personal information.
Online casinos are no longer allowed to wait until a player has won to request ID, and should instead be processing that information from their very first wager, and this information should be cross-checked to ensure total legality.
The only data necessary for verification is now listed as the name, date of birth, and address of the gambler.
In 2018, the commission announced that 15% of its complaints involved licensees requesting further customer ID before allowing them to withdraw winnings.
It is thought that this new ruleset will also make the process of collecting winnings much quicker and more enjoyable for gamblers.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in the UK, Jeremy Wright, said: “These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after.
“They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online. By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling-related harm.”
Regulating ‘lucrative’ incentives
The third rule to hit the industry in the second half of the year involves regulating bonuses and sign up promotions.
The Competition and Markets Authority recently found that casinos were often offering sign up promotions that were overly tempting and described as too ‘lucrative’.
The UKGC is therefore now exploring how to implement a maximum deposit and maximum bonus figures for gamblers to protect the mental state of gamblers and promote healthy yet attainable competition among all casino bodies.
Casinos will also have to prove clear rules and regulations on sign up promotions, bonuses and free spins before players place wagers to make online gambling as clear of a process as possible.
The rules on handing out winnings have now been tightened on the industry to prevent companies from withholding money from customers who have won on such promotions.
It is clear that the UK gambling industry now has far more new information to take in and quickly implement if it is to continue to play by the rules.
After all, the gambling regulations industry is no joke wherever you are in the world.
The UKGC, however, claims that its new rules and regulations are for good reason.
It is hoped that more will now be invested into online gambling sites and software producers such as Microgaming and NetEnt to ensure it is safe for all, and that casinos will take more care when checking the age of their players.
Most importantly, though, the new guidelines have been put in place to help grow the industry.
Between 2011 and 2018, Great Britain’s gross gambling yield increased from £8.4 billion to £14.4 billion.
Around 100,000 people are employed by the sector and there were over 181,000 gambling machines in the UK as of 2018.
From these facts alone, it’s clear to see why the UK wants to push the industry as far as it will go.
All of the new rules are concerned with customer service, data protection, and responsible gambling to help consumers get the most from their gambling experience, rather than aiming to close casino doors and shut down websites.
In a statement, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling.
“They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.’
“Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest.
“Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”
The Commission has since launched a consultation process to speak with leaders of the industry on how customers experiencing gambling difficulties should be treated.
Companies will also be asked to prove they have gambling blocking software in use.
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