UKGC Unveils Three-Year Strategy for Fair and Safe Gambling

Posted on: November 15, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: November 15, 2017, 11:15h.

The UK Gambling Commission has released a 26-page document that outlines the organizations strategy to make gambling safer and fairer over the next three years.

UKGC strategy 2018-2021
The Gambling Commission says it wants to improve the way it regulates the industry and make it easier for consumers to find the information they need. (Image: UK Gambling Commission)

The Gambling Commission outlined five areas of focus, including protecting the interests of consumers, preventing harm to the public, and raising standards in the gambling market.

“We exist to safeguard consumers and the wider public by ensuring that gambling is fair and safe,” the commission wrote in the foreword to the report. “This strategy presents a vision for the kind of gambling market we want to see: one that is fairer and safer for consumers.”

Commission Outlines Five Areas of Emphasis

The report expands upon each of five areas in which the regulator thinks improvements can be made in the market in the period between 2018 and 2021. First, it says it wants to protect the interests of consumers by tailoring information and systems to the needs and circumstances of individuals.

“We want to make information and controls accessible and more meaningful for consumers to help them understand their gambling choices at an individual level, and have easy to use, reliable tools to control it,” the commission wrote.

The regulator’s most important role may be in preventing hard to consumers and the public, and that goal is a major focus of the report. However, the UKGC also expects operators to “actively work and cooperate with each other to mitigate and minimize harm.”

The commission also wants operators to do more to improve the “culture of accountability” to their customers. This has been a point of emphasis for the regulator recently, with the commission and other groups recently sending a letter to hundreds of operators in order to crack down on gambling ads that might appeal to children.

National Lottery License Battle Receives Mention in Report

One point of the plan is all about how to optimally utilize the money from the National Lottery and other lotteries, all of which goes to “good causes.” According to the report, in the year ending in September 2016, the National Lottery contributed approximately £1.7 billion ($2.24 billion) to god causes, with other social lotteries chipping in another £230 million ($303 million).

This may not seem like a point of contention, but the strategy makes note of the fact that the current National Lottery license expires in 2023. Billionaire newspaper titan Richard Desmond is planning to challenge the current license holder, Camelot, in a process that’s likely to begin in 2019.

In the report, the UKGC says they will “shape a robust and effective competition for the National Lottery of the future,” suggesting they welcome a competitive bidding process for the license.

Finally, the commission outlines how it can improve the way they regulate, including putting more emphasis on the use of data and information and reviewing their approaches to interacting with operators and the public.

According to UKGC Executive Director Sarah Gardner, the commission’s strategy is designed to put consumers first.

“Consumers must be able to make informed choices about their gambling and feel protected,” Gardner said. “We want consumers to feel empowered, we want them to have the right sort of information, and tools to help them manage their gambling.”