UK Gambling Commission Urges Land-Based Sector To 'Remain Vigilant' Of Risks

November 2, 2023
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A UK Gambling Commission representative has highlighted a series of land-based gambling social responsibility successes and failures, as well as provided an update on its ongoing Gambling Act review consultations.
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A UK Gambling Commission representative has highlighted a series of land-based gambling social responsibility successes and failures, as well as provided an update on its ongoing Gambling Act review consultations.

Speaking at the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (Bacta) Social Responsibility Exchange event on Tuesday (October 31), Gambling Commission director of industry and specialist knowledge Mandy Gill warned land-based operators to “remain vigilant, in particular, to the risks of their customers experiencing gambling harms, while making sure they have the right controls in place to minimise the risk of money laundering”.

The gambling regulator director then praised the success rates for age-gating among land-based operators and thanked Bacta members for constantly trying to improve this and protect children and young people from gambling.

“We also acknowledge that Bacta members have voluntarily implemented a ban on under-18s using Category D slot machines with a cash prize. As you’ll know, DCMS [Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport] has recently consulted on moving that ban into legislation,” Gill said.

Participation in Great Britain for gaming centres and arcades was 1.6 percent for the year ending March 2023, down from 1.8 percent for the year to March 2022, according to the Gambling Commission’s data.

Gill went on to give an update on the Gambling Act review and its associated consultations.

The commission has been supporting the DCMS with its land-based consultation, which included proposals related to machine entitlements in arcades and bingo and cashless payments on gaming machines.

“Alongside that work, the commission has also begun some pre-consultation engagement with industry on its own review of the Gaming Machine Technical Standards that will include an assessment of the role of session limits across Category B and C machines and the role of other safer gambling measures and tools — such as those included within your ‘Responsible Game Design Code of Conduct’,” Gill said.

The first round of consultations closed on October 18, covering financial risk checks and assessments, cross-selling and direct marketing, age verification in land-based premises and removing features that increase the intensity of play on non-slots casino games online.

Gill explained that the Gambling Commission has received more than 3,000 responses to the consultations, with the majority of responses covering financial vulnerability and risk checks. These checks would not apply to land-based venues. 

She also reiterated that the consultations are “genuinely open”, insisting that concerns in the responses will be listened to.

The gambling regulator is now looking to start the second round of consultations, which expects to publish “in early Winter".

The topics of these consultations have not yet been finalised.

However, Gill said the next tranche of consultations will include opportunities for people to have their say on proposals covering socially responsible incentives, gambling management tools and “removing a significant number of items that are out of date or not useful”.

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