UKGC Aiming to Make Gambling More Fair and SafeJanuary 2, 2018 12:29 pm
While the UK has one of the most competitive and progressive gambling industries in the world, a report released by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in 2017 highlighted a worrying rise in the number of problem gamblers in the country. In fact, more than 2 million of the UK’s population of 65 million people are either at risk of becoming or are already gambling addicts.
As a result, the UKGC is currently carrying out a thorough review of the industry in order to ensure a greater level of protection is in place for consumers. In the meantime, the regulator has advised that more serious measures are undertaken by operators to protect those people susceptible to compulsive gambling, with the threat of stiff penalties or licenses being revoked for those firms that fail to comply.
One of the main areas of concerns relates to roulette type slot machines known as fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) that allow punters to gamble up to £100 each spin. These machines have been called the crack cocaine of gambling, with the UKGC expected to soon reduce their maximum stake to somewhere between £2-50. Furthermore, the regulator has also requested that staff at bookmakers where they are situated do more to quickly identify those customers most at risk of gambling addiction, and as Sarah Gardner, executive director of the commission, explains:
“What we would like to see is much more emphasis from gambling businesses on intervening at an early stage.”
Another major concern relates to the high number of gambling commercials shown on TV, as well as children being exposed to a multitude of gambling adverts and billboards at football and other sporting events. Against this backdrop, the UK Gambling Commission has now adopted a three-year strategy in order to limit the level of gambling-related harm being inflicted on individual consumers or on UK society as a whole. In addition, it will receive help and support from various organisations in policing the industry, including the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), local broadcasters, and gambling industry groups, such as GambleAware, in order to keep the gambling market a safe and responsible environment for UK residents.