GC targets fairer and safer gambling market in year ahead

17 April 2019

The Gambling Commission for England, Scotland and Wales has set out its business plan for the 2019-20 year, with a continued focus on protecting consumers, preventing gambling-related harm and raising overall standards in the industry.

The plan highlights the projects and milestones that the UK regulatory body aims to reach or meet over the next 12 months as part of its ongoing strategy, which runs from 2018 until 2021.

“We put consumers at the heart of our approach, which requires us to strike a balance between the enjoyment people get from gambling and the risks that gambling can present,” Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said.

“Managing those risks is not just the responsibility of the individual consumer, and that is why we assess risks by looking at the providers of gambling, the products that are offered and the places in which people gamble.

“Our approach allows us to respond to emerging risks and issues, whilst constantly seeking ways to drive up standards.”

In terms of protecting consumers, the Commission will publish a number of priority actions, following recent calls for evidence on using credit cards to fund gambling and player protection controls for Category B gaming machines.

This is to be expanded further, with an evaluation of current player protection measures for Category C and D machines, as well as an investigation into game design. The Commission may introduce new regulations should it decide current controls are insufficient.

There will be efforts to ramp up harm prevention measures, in part through the launch of a new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, which is due to launch later this month. The impact of the new strategy will be closely monitored once it is implemented.

Further work on responsible advertising will also be undertaken, with the Commission to work with the Advertising Standards Authority to identify effective controls to mitigate the impact of gambling advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people.

Early next year, the regulator will then launch a review of funding arrangements for problem gambling prevention and treatment initiatives, and publish an action plan designed to ensure funding is adequate to meet public demand.

Efforts to raise industry standards will also continue, with a best practice programme for licensees to be promoted through a series of events and publications. Corporate evaluations of operators will then be carried out, to ensure the standards are upheld.

Finally, with the tender process for the third National Lottery licence to launch later in 2019, the Commission will look to ramp up industry interest in the process. This will see a series of events on the opportunity presented by the tender take place.

In related news, the regulator has also published its income forecasts for fees from licensed operators over the next 12 months.

The Commission expects betting to be the dominant force in the market, accounting for  32% total fees, ahead of casinos on 27% and software with 16%. Behind these are machines on 8%, lotteries with 7%, arcades at 6% and bingo with 4%.