Betting Sites Told To Check on Customers
May 15, 2020
The UK government and its representative body for gambling, the Gambling Commission, have been keeping tabs on the nation’s gambling habits with a view to identifying any worrying gambling trends and instigating additional measures to protect the customers of betting firms.
With effect from this week, betting sites must do the following as part of a process of continuous monitoring of their customers’ betting patterns:
- Stop reverse withdrawals (when a customer decides not to withdraw winnings, keeping the funds in his/her account to use to place further bets)
- Stop offering bonuses or promotions to customers who are identified as vulnerable
- Interact with customers who have been playing continuously for an hour or more (via webchat or telephone call)
- Review current thresholds and triggers for new customers
- Conduct affordability assessments for new and existing customers, where the thresholds and triggers are activated.
The new guidance we have issued to operators today aims to further protect consumers during lockdown. It focuses on the need for affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. Read the full guidance: https://t.co/iQjVbZJvms pic.twitter.com/jFhteUO6Fl— Gambling Commission (@GamRegGB) May 12, 2020
The Gambling Commission has based these new rules on data collected directly from YouGov surveys and from the gambling industry itself. With the cancellation of sports events and the closure of betting shops, gambling participation has dropped overall although, as you would expect, there has been an increase in the use of online slots, poker and casino sites and virtual sports. Most gamblers have not increased their usual spend or time spent on gambling but those who are more engaged in gambling have, and it is the latter group that the Gambling Commission is seeking to target.
The government minister responsible for the gambling industry, Nigel Huddleston, says “It is vital that people are protected from the threat of gambling related harm and I welcome these latest steps from the Gambling Commission. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take further action if required.”
Critics of the betting industry, which generates over £15 billion in revenues each year, are keen to see further controls introduced. VIP inducements/bonuses is seen as an area that requires change and the Gambling Commission will shortly be starting a consultation process which will propose strengthened measures around ethical product design, including reverse withdrawals and VIP Inducements.
If you think you have a problem with gambling, or you are concerned that someone close to you has a problem, you can contact the National Gambling Helpline run by the UK charity GamCare It is open 24/7 and you can call free on 0808 8020 133. Alternatively you can visit gamcare.org.uk for online support.