UKGC calls on operators to up consumer protection efforts

22 November 2017

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has urged operators to take more action to ensure they are protecting customers from gambling-related harm.

Speaking this week at the Commission’s annual Raising Standards conference, Sarah Harrison, chief executive of the UKGC said that although there has been progress over the past 12 months, gambling companies can do more.

Harrison also spoke about the UKGC’s willingness to work with operators to help make the UK “the best place in the world to enjoy gambling”.

“The bar has been set too low by operators in relation to treating customers fairly; the customer experience has not been what it should be, and change is now coming,” Harrison said.

“Fairness is key, transparency is essential, and unreasonable behaviour will not be accepted, by us, by our partner organisations and certainly not by the consumer.

“I want to restate our commitment to make the UK the best place in the world to enjoy gambling; to make sure that consumers are safe and that operators are fair and responsible, and to have higher standards than ever before, that increase year on year.

“We want to work with you to go much further and faster to reduce harm, but we are at a tipping point, and those that do not share this commitment, those who do not deliver for the consumer, will find themselves in an uncomfortable position, with their future in this industry increasingly in peril.”

UKGC chair Bill Moyes also used the conference to issue a warning to operators that public support for gambling is declining and only gambling companies can reinstall confidence among consumers. 

Moyes said: “Public concern about gambling is increasing – about the scale of problem gambling, about advertising, about the potential impact on children and the vulnerable.

“The industry can be seen as beyond redemption and requiring tough action to tackle its worst excesses.

“Or it can be seen as a responsible part of the entertainment industry, which acknowledges that it has the capacity to cause harm and demonstrates a real willingness to invest in improvement, in prevention and in treatment.”

The call comes after the UKGC earlier this month announced a new five-step strategy designed to “shape a well-regulated gambling market that works for consumers”.

Related article: UKGC unveils new roadmap for ‘fairer and safer gambling’