With the ongoing review of the Gambling Act 2005, authorities in the UK make sure to continue providing a secure and fair gambling environment. Last week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) updated some of its license terms and conditions. The changes were introduced to ensure better protection for customers of license holders as well as to help operators prevent fraudulent activities.
Last week, the UKGC also published new data on the impact of COVID-9 on the gambling industry in the UK. The data was supposed to reflect the way the easing of the lockdown measures is affecting the gambling behaviour among British players and bettors.
UKGC Changes Some Guidelines in Its Licence Terms and Conditions
Last week, the UKGC announced that it has updated the guidelines that license holders must follow to meet the fair and transparent terms and practices imposed by the regulator. The recent changes followed a discovery made by the UKGC, as the regulators established some unfair licence terms that sometimes give licensees the right to decide how to apply such terms.
Examples of the rather unfair terms include cases when licensees were allowed to confiscate customers’ deposits when they have not been staked. Some of the unfair terms were related to the way customers’ funds are handled whenever there is a suspicion of illegal, fraudulent or irregular play. Promotional terms that gave the licensee the right to void real money winnings provided a customer breaks playthrough conditions were also a part of the issue. Lastly, some of the terms were unfair towards customers as they allowed licensees to reduce the potential profit from open bets.
The UKGC also acknowledged that some of the terms and conditions were not easy to understand and some of the promotions for newly registered players/bettors had requirements that were prompting excessive play.
To ensure a safer and fairer gambling environment, license holders are required to follow the updated license guidelines as well as be compliant with the current consumer protection laws and the LCCP. The UKGC also reminded license holders that if they are asked to provide proof of compliance with the new terms of fairness and transparency, they must meet this LCCP requirement.
Following the updated license terms, operators are also advised to revise their promotional offers, especially their welcome bonuses and other promotions that have wagering requirements. The regulatory body asked license holders to construct their bonus terms and conditions in a socially responsible manner. While it is natural for bonus offers to imply some wagering conditions, the UKGC hopes that such terms will not force excessive play.
The gambling regulator also noted that if a customer is not pleased with the response they have received from a licensee after issuing a complaint, they can contact an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) platform. Such providers are expected to follow the guidelines for consumer protection whenever they are resolving a dispute between a customer and a licensee.
UKGC Update on COVID-19 Impact on Gambling Industry in the UK
As the lockdown measures are being eased, the UKGC published new data on the way the lift of some restrictions impacts gambling in the UK. Last week, the regulatory body published data that covers the period between March 2020 and December 2021. The regulator has also taken into consideration data that has been published previously and has been properly corrected. The data is collected by Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) and it reflects the impact on both land-based and online gambling in the country.
The UKGC advised being cautious when making a year-over-year juxtaposition between the results in some months in 2020 and the following year as the operational circumstances have been very different during specific months of this period. The UKGC announced that the newly collected data will be published on a quarterly basis during the financial year 2021-2022.
The newly published data showed a total GGY little below £421 million in December, with a third-quarter GGY of £1.2 billion. This indicated a 6% decline from the second-quarter results. When comparing the data from the second and third quarters, the results showed a 4% increase in the number of total spins/bets while the number of active accounts did not change.
The GGY generated from slots increased by 1% in the third quarter, with the number of spins surging 3% to 18.2 billion and the number of active players jumping 5% to 9.8 million. There was also an increase of 8% in the number of slot sessions that lasted over an hour, reaching more than 8.1 million. The average time spent playing slots was 19 minutes, with 7% of all slot sessions lasting over an hour. Lastly, the GGY of LBOs marked a 1% decline between the second and third quarters, reaching £533 million. Meanwhile, the number of total bets and spins did surge to 3.3 billion.
The UKGC acknowledged the entering of a new and different phase with the easing of lockdown measures. That said, the regulator ensured it will continue to monitor and assess the gambling industry in the UK and asked for the compliance of operators.