The UK Gambling Commission’s chief executive officer; Neil McArthur, has today spoken out about working together with casino operators in the industry to make gambling safer and help vulnerable people who may be exposed to VIP incentives that encourage wagering more than they can afford.
A number of proposals have been put forward to operators within the gambling industry that include restrictions for under 25 year olds along with a minimum spin speed for slot machines.
Neil McArthur said:
“We have been encouraged by the progress on VIP incentives, safer advertising and safer products. We set these challenges in order to deliver real and rapid change for consumers in key areas of risk. However, it is important these commitments are implemented as soon as possible. It should not take months to implement safeguards many would expect to be in place already.”
The commission has been working with the Betting and Gaming Council of Great Britain in order to collaborate with more than thirty gambling operators on changes that can be implemented in the near future.
McArthur expanded on details on the next steps:
“By working together with operators and seeking the views of people with lived experience of gambling harm we have been able to make significant progress, although there is always more to do. We will now consult on the necessary changes to our rule book to ensure all operators have to meet the new standards. Whilst we are encouraged by industry proposals for making gambling products safer we now call on operators to implement those proposals rapidly; but the proposals do not go far enough and we will now consider what additional measures we should impose on operators.”
Due to the current and ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the UK, gambling activities both online and offline have been adversely affected. McArthur stated that during these difficult times it is crucial that firms operate in a moral and responsible manner:
“That is a positive sign of their commitment to make the industry safer. Ultimately actions speak louder than words and any operator that does not put consumer safety first will find itself a target for enforcement action.”
Brigid Simmonds of the Betting and Gaming Council; the single industry association for betting and gaming, representing betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos in the UK also commented:
“The progress reported today including restricting under 25’s from qualifying for high value customer accounts; strengthened advertising rules and games with slower speeds and the removal of some functionality comes despite difficult operating circumstances during the COVID-19 crisis. These measures, along with our recently announced 10 pledge action plan for COVID-19 safer gambling and our 22 industry safer gambling commitments will significantly transform and improve the environment for our customers and the wider public. We agree with the Gambling Commission that there is still more work to do and we will rise to the ongoing challenge.”