In the United Kingdom, the Gambling Commission regulator has unveiled a new five-point strategy it intends to roll out over the next three years that has been designed to ‘help shape a well-regulated gambling market that works for consumers’.
According to a press release from the watchdog, some 63% of adults in the United Kingdom have gambled over the previous twelve months while the regulator is hoping that its new plan will build upon previous work to better balance the personal and societal risks associated with gambling against the issues of enjoyment and consumer choice.
“We’ve put consumers at the heart of this strategy [as] we want to protect them from gambling-related harm and keep gambling fair and safe,” read a statement from Sarah Gardner, Executive Director for the Gambling Commission. “The strategy sets out ambitions plans over the next three years and we’ll realize these by working closely with industry, regulatory partners and with all those with a shared interest in keeping gambling fair and safe. This strategy sets out our vision for the gambling market we want to see; one which is fairer and safer.”
The first tier of the new strategy involves protecting the interests of customers and will involve the Gambling Commission asking operators to intervene in order to make play safer and protect at-risk consumers. It stated that this plank is additionally due to encompass tougher sanctions against anyone that has failed to improve safety or been found to have treated players unfairly.
Along these same lines, the Gambling Commission declared that its new strategy will moreover endeavor to prevent consumers from being harmed and it intends to ask operators to provide players with more information about gambling and its risks while instituting better controls for customers.
“At the moment we see technology being used in the industry…and we’d like to see more investment in technology being used to help consumers manage their gambling and to target information on a more tailored basis to the right consumers at the right time,” read the statement from Gardner.
The third part of the new strategy is to see the Gambling Commission attempt to improve standards in the gambling market by demanding that operators establish more effective and independent routes to resolving consumer complaints and disputes.
Neil McArthur, General Counsel for the Gambling Commission, stated that the regulator will ‘work with operators to raise standards’ by sharing best practices while giving advice and guidance but that it will also be willing to ‘use our powers to the full to correct poor practice where we find it’.
In the run-up to its 2023 decision on who should be given the new license to operate the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission explained that its fresh approach will furthermore involve optimizing the money lotteries raise for good causes. It affirmed that this is to include regulating ‘in a way that delivers a healthy National Lottery for customers and good causes’ while Gardner proclaimed that the watchdog would work to bring a ‘greater understanding’ to consumers of ‘the role society lotteries play and the contributions they make to good causes and communities across the country’.
Finally, the Gambling Commission is hoping to improve the way it regulates the industry and wants to begin publishing a regular external risk outlook while initiating a policy to collect more data on real players and the outcomes they experience. It additionally clarified that it intends to take ‘precautionary action’ in order to help the industry comply while providing government with ‘independent and well evidenced advice’ on gambling and its impact.