(PRESS RELEASE) — New plans to make gambling online in Britain safer than ever before have been announced by the Gambling Commission.
Statistics show that industry profits from the sector have grown 10% to 4.7 billion in the last year, and public participation has increased from 15.5% in 2014 to 18.3% in 2017. It is estimated that nine million people across Britain gamble online.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said, “Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world, and we are continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers.
“The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said, “We are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling.”
Proposed changes and action include:
• Further protecting children by banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined.
• Improving the speed and effectiveness of age verification processes.
• Ensuring operators set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted.
• Tackling unacceptable marketing and advertising and unfair terms, and improving complaints and disputes procedures.
•Strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be experiencing, or are at risk of developing, problems with their gambling.
The review also identifies five areas where the Commission is undertaking further work during the coming year.
The Commission is going to:
• Assess the effectiveness of the current tools available to consumers to manage their gambling.
• Review gambling product characteristics to identify whether particular features pose greater risk of harm than others.
• Review requirements on the protection of customer funds and consider whether there are sufficient protections around dormant accounts.
• Consider whether gambling on credit should continue to be permitted.
• Consider whether to make changes to ensure that consumers can withdraw funds more easily.