UKGC begins consultation on stronger requirements for online operators

The UK Gambling Commission has launched a consultation that is calling for views from the industry, consumers and other stakeholders regarding stronger requirements on online operators.

Citing casework and lived experience, the regulator says that evidence shows that operators are not setting thresholds for action at appropriate levels, and that they are not taking the appropriate action, or acting quickly enough, when they do identify risk of potential harm.

Launching the consultation process immediately, the dialogue concerns the ability to identify consumers who may be at risk of gambling harm and to then interact and take action to prevent those harms.

As part of the new requirements, the UKGC proposes that online gambling operators must act on information they have about a consumer’s vulnerability, and to introduce stronger requirements, including defined affordability assessments at thresholds set by the Commission.

Furthermore, the group is also calling for evidence on what the thresholds for these affordability assessments should be, the nature of them and how operators are required to protect consumers following such action.

Tim Miller, executive director of the UKGC, said of the consultation: “Whilst some operators have continued to improve their customer interaction processes, our evidence shows that many online operators are not setting thresholds for action at appropriate levels. They are not taking the appropriate action or acting quickly enough when they do identify risks of potential harm.

“We are clear on the need for gambling companies to take further action and that the Commission must set firm requirements to set consistent standards. But we want to have an open discussion with the gambling industry, consumers, people with lived experience and other stakeholders, to ensure we strike the right balance between allowing consumer freedom and ensuring that there are protections in place to prevent gambling harm.”