With the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is actively participating in the regulation of the gambling industry in the UK. Last week, the regulatory body agreed on funding that will support a public health programme that will deal with reducing gambling-related harm among the public in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Following the results from a recent inquiry on the BetIndex case, the UKGC ensured it will work on improving its approach when it comes to modern digital gambling services and platforms. Meanwhile, to make sure it is conducting its regulatory work properly, the Commission fined the gambling company EU Lotto due to several operational failings of Lottoland’s owner.
UKGC Approves Funding for a Programme Combating Gambling Harm
Last week the regulatory body agreed on the funding that will help the operation of a new public health programme that will work towards decreasing the potential gambling harms in the regions Yorkshire and the Humber.
The programme is planned to last three years, with the Public Health directors in Yorkshire and the Humber being responsible for overseeing its activities. The settlement that the UKGC agreed on amounts to £800,000 and it will be used for the programme that will focus on informing individuals about gambling-related harms and offering better protection for vulnerable people and their families.
The new programme will provide better education about gambling-related harm by offering workplace training, better information on self-management for vulnerable individuals and improved protection of high-risk people. The programme will work closely with communities in Yorkshire and the Humber to raise gambling-related harm awareness and remove the stigma.
The UKGC strongly approved of the new regional programme, confirming that the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms was designed particularly for the purpose of supporting projects that tackle gambling-related harms. Greg Fell, Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Network, expressed the group’s motivation to present a programme effective enough to offer other regions across the UK a pattern of work to follow.
UKGC Announces Changes in Regulations Following Inquiry into BetIndex
After an inquiry into BetIndex, the UKGC made an announcement about revising its regulation methods when it comes to advanced digital gambling services and platforms. The announcement of the regulator was provoked by the results from the Independent Review of the Regulation of BetIndex Limited. The review shed a light on examples proving that both the regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had some failings in their regulations of BetIndex.
Andrew Rhodes, CEO of UKGC, acknowledged that there is no way to reduce the pain and the anger of customers who suffered huge losses due to the failings in Football Index’s operation. He confirmed that these feelings were justifiable as the collapse of the betting platform caused the loss of a serious amount of money for a large number of Football Index customers. He also admitted that the UKGC should have taken actions much earlier but that would not have prevented the company’s collapse. Thanks to the recommendations in the review, the UKGC has a better idea of how the two regulators can improve the way they oversee digitalised gambling services.
Some of the new regulations implemented by the UKGC following the BetIndex case include novel products being considered a key factor when evaluating the risk levels of a gambling company. The regulator also improved the Memorandum of Understanding to help the UKGC and FCA take rapid actions in cases where financial services and gambling products are heavily intertwined.
EU Lotto Required to Pay £760,000 Fine After UKGC Reveals Company’s Failings
After a review of EU Lotto’s operations for the period between October 2019 and November 2020, the operator of Lottoland was required to pay a £760,000 fine. The company also received an official warning by the UKGC as it was revealed that EU Lotto had several instances of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings during the period covered in the review.
Some of the social responsibility weaknesses of the company include allowing customers to frequently adjust their deposit limits without considering these actions as potentially harmful, inefficient affordability evaluations, and offering limited interactions with customers to prevent potential harm.
As for the anti-money laundering shortcomings of EU Lotto, the UKGC revealed that the operator failed to properly review the bank statements offered by customers as evidence of income. The company also did not restrict access for customers who did not comply with source of funds (SoF) requests. The regulator also found cases of the operator allowing customers to register payment cards that did not belong to the account holders. Meanwhile, the operator used only generic threshold triggers to inform customers about the proper amount to gamble, considering key factors like wealth, income, and other risk elements.