As the review of the UK gambling regulations is ongoing, there have been numerous talks about ensuring a safer gambling environment for vulnerable individuals. Last week, the Gambling Commission’s Executive Director Tim Miller, delivered a speech at the 2021 Know Now conference. The main topic of the event was Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators, with Miller’s speech also presenting the regulator’s actions to ensure a safer gambling environment.
In other news in the UK gambling industry, it became clear that 888 Holdings will acquire William Hill’s European business. The company’s 1,400 betting shops across the UK are also a part of the deal, with 888 Holdings striving to launch one of the leading online betting and gaming companies in the world.
UK Gambling Commission to Continue Focusing on Ensuring Safer Gambling
Tim Miller began his speech by expressing how exciting it was to see so many people in person after the long period of lockdowns and social distancing. He noted that as the Gambling Commission is working on ensuring a safer gambling environment, they should recognize the impact of the global pandemic.
In the last 18 months, the Commission has been reviewing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on people and the risks levels they have been exposed to. As the difficult situation has increased the risk factors among vulnerable UK individuals, the regulatory body has taken several quick but necessary actions to avoid further harm.
The Commission’s Executive Director stated the main goals of the regulatory body had always included the prevention of crimes or disorders caused by or associated with gambling. The Commission also strives to protect underage individuals and vulnerable people from any gambling-related harm and wants to make sure that gambling is always conducted in a transparent and fair way.
Even before the global pandemic struck the UK, the regulatory body was already taking serious measures to ensure a safer gambling environment. The Commission has been focusing on the way operators handle so-called VIP customers, the design of gaming products, and the protection of children and young individuals through advertising.
Some of the actions taken by the Commission to regulate the Ad-tech area include composing a list of terms with a negative connotation, suppressing websites, and preventing vulnerable groups from viewing gambling adverts. Age restrictions on YouTube channels and content as well as requiring ads on social media targeting only at over 25s are also some of the measures taken by the Commission to protect vulnerable individuals.
Providing an adequate source of funds evidence, information verification, and ongoing checks on every individual are among the measures taken to regulate the treatment of VIP customers. Meanwhile, the regulator has also banned slot features such as auto-play, spins faster than 2.5 seconds, or other options that may speed up the game.
The aforementioned steps were given as an example of the actions the UK Gambling Commission has taken so far. Miller ensured that the regulatory body will continue to work to ensure even better protection of vulnerable individuals.
888 Holdings to Take Over William Hill’s European Business, Including UK Betting Shops
Last week, it also became clear that 888 Holdings is planning to acquire the European part of William Hill’s business. The acquisition deal is estimated at £2.2 billion and it is also said to include the 1,400 betting shops located in the UK.
According to Itai Panzer, Chief Executive of 888, the acquisition is set to create a new leader in the global online betting and gaming scene. The combined group that will be a product of the purchase is set to create over 12,000 employment opportunities. After the deal is complete, the company hopes that its yearly savings will reach £100 million per year.
After Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in April, the company announced that it is only interested in the US-based assets of William Hill. As for the European business of the company, it was up for auction until it became clear that 888 Holdings purchased William Hill’s European business assets.
Despite the news from last week, however, it may take some time before the acquisition is finalised. The takeover of William Hill’s European operations must be approved by both shareholders and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Ever since its launch in 1934, William Hill has been one of the biggest betting businesses in Europe. The first William Hill betting shops in the UK were opened in the mid-1960s, making the company one of the leaders in the gambling industry. Despite the questionable value of William Hill’s land0based shops due to the global pandemic, 888 Holdings believe the acquisition deal will put the start of a very successful online betting and gambling business.