UKGC Sends iGaming Operators New Rules For Increased Player Safety
Brits have been turning to online gambling to keep themselves busy during the lockdown. With millions of Brits struggling to make money during the pandemic, they are turning to online casinos to see if they can win and make some money on the side. This has caused a lot of concern for the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) who is worried that there will be a spike in problem gambling numbers.
The gambling watchdog is aware of the risks so is releasing new guidelines to help keep things in check.
The main idea behind the UKGC’s guidelines is to protect new players who have turned to online gambling. This new set of rules is directed at iGaming operators to ensure that they always have the best interest of their players in mind.
The new plan is to have more affordability checks, stopping reverse withdrawals, and increased restrictions on bonus offers. All of these can be a big help in keeping problem gambling in check. The UKGC does acknowledge that there is still no proof that there has been an increase in problem gambling as COVID-19 devastates the country. It has only noticed in an increase of usage among gamblers of various online products like online slots and other online gambling offerings.
The data which was collected from the gambling industry itself and with YouGov surveys, shows that players have been having shorter gambling sessions. However, the problem is that there are now more gambling sessions for each player.
The move to protect online gamblers has been met with open arms. Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sports, Tourism, and Heritage, says that the UKGC made the right choice and says that the government will be closely monitoring the situation so that they would have a better idea of the next response to take. He points out that the government won’t hesitate to step in if they see that it is necessary.
The exact guidelines that online operators need to follow include the following:
First, stop reverse withdrawal options until further notice. Second, they should stop offering bonuses or promotions to customers. This is especially to those players who are showing danger signs since the promos will only encourage their gambling. Third, operators should get in touch with players who are playing more than an hour per session.
More in-depth guidelines require operators to review the thresholds of new customers so that they have a better idea of their play patterns and how much they spend. Affordability checks are also increasingly required for those players who seem to be playing too much. Additionally, the operator should be willing to cut them off when necessary.
All these changes are expected to be implemented immediately. The UKGC further warns that they may have additional guidelines in the future.