UKGC Releases Details of Industry-Partnered New Responsible Gaming Initiative

UKGC Releases Details of Industry-Partnered New Responsible Gaming Initiative January 22, 2020 January 22, 2020 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry January 22, 2020 by Carolyn Dutton

The UK Gaming Commission (UKGC) recently disclosed the key points of their new initiative, targeted toward promoting responsible gambling.

The gambling watchdog in the UK will partner with some of the biggest names in the industry including Sky Betting and Gaming, GVC Holdings, SG Gaming, and Playtech to develop three working groups to tackle the issue of problem gambling.

Senior executives from the gambling industry are set to lead the three working groups, focusing on three different aspects related to the GC’s responsible gaming initiative: high value player incentives, product and game design, and advertising. 

Must Tackle Gambling Incentives, Ads, and Tech

GVC will be leading the way in the industry’s response to high value player incentives which include VIP programs and free spins; Sky Betting and Gaming will chair the group tasked with tackling the industry’s advertising technology issues; and Playtech and SG Gaming—a division of Scientific Games will be leading the work on developing an industry-wide code for product and game design.

The group on player incentives will try to ensure that gambling sites’ VIP programs including gifts, bonuses, and other hospitality offers are designed in such a way that it does not conflict with the licensing objectives of providing a safe gambling environment for all. The UKGC has previously stated that gambling sites’ VIP programs often reward risky gambling behaviours, leading to problem gambling. In partnership with the new group, the GC hopes to resolve the issue without unduly penalising the gambling industry.

The group on advertising technology will try to ensure that gambling sites’ advertisements and other marketing materials are designed and target audiences responsibly. This mandate is seen to be a response to a report published by GambleAware, which concluded that gambling advertisements have explicitly targeted children and vulnerable adults, increasing the risk for unhealthy gambling behaviours.

The group on product and game design will develop an industry standard to help designers create safer, more effective products, as well as how to mitigate the risks associated with gambling. 

Strict Timetable for Groups

Neil McArthur, the executive director of the UKGC said the rapid changes in the gambling industry has made it difficult for traditional regulatory approaches to reduce problem gambling. McArthur praised the willingness of the operators to work with the GC to find solutions and said that a strict timetable will be followed, after which the efficacy of the groups will be re-assessed.  

The UKGC will also be partnering with the Information Commissioners Office for this project; the inaugural event will be held next month in Birmingham, targeted toward industry and technology providers.  

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world