Gambling Commission Extends Consultation Deadline

UK Gambling Commission

Due to high consumer engagement, the UK Gambling Commission has extended its deadline for submissions involving a customer interaction consultation.

In the United Kingdom, changes are taking place on a regular basis to ensure gamblers stay protected. The Gambling Commission has made several considerations over the past month as well as recommendations and real changes to protect players. Back in November, a remote customer interaction consultation was started to get real player feedback on what needs to take place to protect gamblers from harm. The consultation has seen such a high number of participants that the Commission has decided to extend the submission deadline to February.

Details of the Consultation

Having started on November 3, the consultation is being led by the Commission and is checking in on players and how they feel about the affordability of gambling as well as intervention. Consumers are able to provide feedback and views of their personal experience. People with lived experience in gambling as well as stakeholders and industry insiders are encouraged to provide feedback.

The goal is to have strong requirements in place for operators so that they can fully identify consumers who are at risk of gambling harm. With help from the consultation, operators will be able to know what preventative actions they should take to help players. Considerations include operators completing affordability checks along with taking action for vulnerable consumers.

Players have taken to the consultation in rare form, with the Commission happy with the results. Because so many players have taken part, they have extended the deadline for evidence until February 9. A spokesperson for the Commission said that with the extended deadline, there will be more time for feedback to be detailed and the strongest evidence base from consumers as well as stakeholders.

Reducing Harm

When the consultation was first announced, the Commission pointed out that operators in the UK have the ability to identify consumers who may be at risk of gambling harm. However, evidence suggests that the industry is not using the information sufficiently to reduce harm among players. With proper feedback from players, operators can understand more about what actions need to be taken to stop players from suffering from addiction or other issues.

The regulator has proposed that operators be required to act on information of an individual if they feel that person is vulnerable to risk or harm. License holders will eventually be required to introduce stronger measures to protect players. This will include affordability assessments at certain thresholds that the Commission will put in place.

The Commission is seeking input on monetary thresholds from stakeholders. The Commission is hoping operators will provide information on this matter as well as the nature of affordability checks. The consultation is open to operators, but the main focus is on consumers and how operators can make changes to better protect them.

Previously, Tim Miller, the executive director of the Gambling Commission, commented that gambling companies clearly need to take further action and the Commission must set firm requirements so that consistent standards are set.

Miller also pointed out that an open discussion must be had with consumers, the industry as a whole as well as people with lived experience in gambling. The overall goal is for the Commission to create the right balance so that consumers have the freedom to gamble while ensuring protections are available so that players are not subject to gambling harm.

It will be a few more months before the results of the consultation are completed. It will be interesting to see player feedback and what they think the Commission needs to put in place as well as how operators should act when offering services. We may see major changes to the industry depending on the feedback provided to the regulator.

Associate Writer: Suzie has extensive experience writing on a number of different topics, but writing on slots remains her first love, and it really shows.