UKGC Takes Phased Approach to Strengthen Gambling Regulations


At the beginning of May 2024, the UK Gaming Commission (UKGC) published a press release detailing major reforms to the gaming sector with the goals of increasing customer choice and safety. In line with the UK government’s White Paper “High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age.” The changes encompass a range of initiatives, such as lowering the intensity of online games, giving consumers greater control over receiving gambling marketing, adopting light-touch financial vulnerability checks, and enhancing processes for age verification checks in gambling establishments.

In its press release, the commission stressed the need to be meticulous with the process. As such, the regulatory changes will be implemented in four phases. That is August 2024, November 2024, January 2025, and February 2025.

Following a six-month trial run of the UKGC program, the commission will determine whether or not to permanently adopt the regulations. Meanwhile, it has expressed its approval of the Betting and Gaming Council’s interim measures, which aim to decrease the amount of paperwork that consumers need to provide.

Key Highlights

Notable efforts include a pilot program for frictionless financial risk assessments, which will help identify situations where clients may spend a lot of money without proper checks, which might lead to serious gambling harm. Assuring consumers that they would not be impacted during the trial phase, the UKGC ensured that data-sharing mechanisms would be refined before full deployment to ease the assessments.

These measures seek to address cases where operators failed to identify financially vulnerable customers, enabling them to gamble without adequate safeguards.

“We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm.”

Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission CEO.

Additionally, on January 17, 2025, new regulations will be enforced by the UKGC concerning the design of remote games, to reduce intensity and improve customer comprehension. A few examples of the changes include updated laws requiring operators to provide customers’ net expenditure and gaming time in real-time and new prohibitions on features that speed up game results.

The UKGC also unveiled plans to tighten age verification procedures in premises and enhance consumer choice in direct marketing; the implementation deadlines for these plans are January 17, 2025, and August 30, 2024, respectively. It went into additional detail and expanded the responsibilities of those holding Personal Management Licences, highlighting how important it is for them to keep gambling businesses safe, fair, and honest.

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