The UK Gambling Commission has introduced new rules to require online gambling companies to identify and take action to protect players at risk of harm.
The new requirements, which will take effect from September 12, require operators to monitor indicators such as player spending, patterns of spending, time spent gambling and player-led contact, the Gambling Commission said today (April 14).
They would force operators to flag those indicators of harm and take action, implement automated processes for strong indicators of harm and prevent marketing and the utilisation of bonuses by at-risk players.
Operators are required to ensure their third-party suppliers comply with the rules, the commission said.
Licensees will also need to demonstrate evaluation of their player interactions to the commission during routine casework.
“Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm,” chief executive Andrew Rhodes said.
“These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit.
“We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so,” he said.
The move comes as the release of a white paper outlining potential changes in the 2005 Gambling Act is expected in the coming days or weeks.
On Monday (April 11), Rhodes warned that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies carry some of the same hallmarks of gambling without safeguards that come with gambling regulation, and he suggested that blaming the “black market” for abuse would not excuse the gambling industry from making reforms.
The changes announced follow the Gambling Commission receiving 13,000 responses to a call for evidence on a consultation seeking to address failings by online gambling operators.
“All responses to the proposals were carefully considered to ensure proportionate, robust changes were made,” the commission said.
New guidance is coming in June to help licensees understand and comply with the new rules, the regulator said.
Next the commission said it plans to “consult further on identifying customers who are financially vulnerable and tackling significant unaffordable gambling”.