Last week the UK Gambling Commission introduced several new measures that will ensure better protection for online players in the UK. In 2020, the Gambling Commission announced that it will start working on some amendments in the Gambling Act to ensure a safer gambling environment, especially for individuals who are at risk of developing gambling addictions.
The Gambling Commission Introduces Changes to Online Slots
The first news of the previous week was about a package of restrictions that concerned the protection of players who gamble through online slots. Some of the newly introduced measures include limiting the speed of spins, as well as imposing a ban on any features that speed up slot spins or give the false idea of considering losses as profitable outcomes.
The package of measures was introduced after the Gambling Commission had a consultation with the general public, as well as players. These changes are implemented in order to give players better control over their gambling instead of being tempted by the design and features of the games.
The Gambling Commission directed its attention to online slots as they tend to include features that make spins more intense and lead to riskier tendencies among players. Among all online casino games, slots have the highest rate of average losses per single player. This is why the Gambling Commission banned permanently four of the slot features with higher risks.
The package of restrictions applies to the spin speed that goes over 2.5 seconds, the auto-play function, features that speed up the gameplay or give a false belief of controlling the results of the game. Last but not least, the Commission banned visual or sound effects that give the false impression of a win, when the actual return is either even money or even lower than the staked amount.
The UK Gambling Commission also requires operators to be transparent with their players, stating the total number of losses and wins, as well as the time that is spent playing any of the online slots they provide. The Commission also banned the option to reverse withdrawals as players tend to use their winnings for gambling instead of proceeding with their withdrawal. Online operators are expected to fully apply the package of the new player protection measures by 31 October 2021.
Lived Experience Advisory Panel Helds Its First Meeting
Last week the UK Gambling Commission also appointed the Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which is to focus on improving the UK players’ safety online. The first meeting of the panel took place last week and the participants included individuals who are affected in some way by gambling. The panel is to join forces with the Commission in order to ensure a safer gambling environment for players in the UK. A spokesperson of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel shared that it is great that the Commission is ready to listen to individuals who have been affected by gambling and have plenty of insight to help decrease the harm of gambling that can be caused.
The Gambling Commission Updates Its Actions Map
Another step towards the right direction was also taken last week, with the Gambling Commission publishing its latest actions map. It provides detailed information on all of the measures that have been taken during 2020 by different partners of the Commission to lower the gambling risks for players in the UK.
Executive Director Tim Miller shared that anyone interested in the Strategy will be able to see the current progress of the Commission, as well as any ongoing or future projects that will also concentrate on decreasing gambling harm. He also added that the updated version of actions map allows shareholders easier access to the Strategy and proves that the Commission is always striving to establish effective communication with its partners.
The Chair of the Scotland Strategy Implementation Group, Phil Mackie also expressed his approval of the new actions map of the Gambling Commission. He shared that the improvements in the format will help the Scotland Strategy Implementation Group to bring down the rates of gambling harm and find the common priorities that require action.
A Review of Aspers Stratford Reveals Anti-Money Laundering and Other Player Protection Shortcomings
Last week, the Gambling Commission revealed the results of its review of Aspers Stratford City Casino. After the tragic news of a visitor of the casino committing suicide after visiting Aspers Stratford, the Commission initiated a review of the London casino in December 2018. The review discovered weak management of the anti-money laundering policy of the company, as well as a failure in taking social responsibility and protecting its customers. This has led to a few unsupervised purchases made by the individual.
The Commission issued a warning to Aspers Stratford for weaknesses that have led to the tragic accident. The operator was also required to revise its policies and show improvements within the period of six months. If the Commission deducts that a further revision is required, Aspers Stratford is to comply with the Commission’s recommendations. The operator was also fined a penalty fee of £652,500, with Aspers Stratford also losing a gross gambling yield of £78,233, which resulted from the company’s weaknesses.