Tim Miller, executive director of policy and research at the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), pointed out plans for the newest round of consultation on the Gambling Act Review White Paper.

New round of consultations:

As for this newest round of consultations, it will involve free wagers and bonuses, specifically making sure they are “socially responsible.” In this regard, Miller said: “We will consult on proposals relating to incentives such as free bets and bonuses, to make sure they do not encourage harmful or excessive gambling.”

The primary reason why these consultations are happening in the first place is the aforementioned Gambling Act Review White Paper. During them, suggestions are made on how gambling must be regulated in the Great Britain in the future. However, these suggestions are built on the government’s 2005 review of the Gambling Act.

One specific topic for this new round will be financial penalties. According to Miller, the UKGC is suggesting modifications to the way fines are calculated. On that note, he added: “This will seek to bring greater clarity and transparency to the way we calculate such penalties. This will include measures to ensure that penalties are set at a level where the costs of non-compliance outweigh the costs of compliance.”

Legal billing consultation:

Furthermore, the consultation will also focus on the transparency of client asset protection, client-led tools and the requirement to contribute yearly to Research, Prevention and Treatment (RET). However, when it comes to the last one, Miller commented that “the Commission will consult on removing the existing requirement to contribute to a set list of research, prevention and treatment bodies in the context of government proposals to introduce a statutory levy in the future.”

Relatedly, during October, the Commission’s director of policy, Ian Agnus, commented: “I expect that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to launch a consultation on the statury levy soon.”

And finally, the last 2 topics that will be discussed during the aforementioned consultation are the reporting of financial key events and regulatory data. Speaking on the matter, Miller wrote: “The Commission’s work on the Gambling Act review proposals is related to its day-to-day work regulating the industry. We are rightly putting emphasis on implementing the government’s Gambling Act review recommendations. This goes hand in hand with our vital regulatory business as usual, to keep gambling safe, fair and crime free.”

Significant progress:

Miller commented in a blog post, aka the official press release, on the website of the UKGC. He commented that since the White Paper was officially published, the UKGC’s focus on implementing the suggestions had led to significant progress. Additionally, he said the regulator plans seek advice on 7 topics during a 12-week period.

In this regard, he wrote: “This is set to close in February or March. Our forthcoming consultations will continue to fulfil our aim to progress white paper recommendations at pace, but also address other aspects of our regulation to make us fit for the future.”

First set of consultations:

All in all, the White Paper lists over 60 different sections that the Commission is tasked with working on. During May, Miller commented that the regulator had very little room to review “non-white paper policies” in the coming years. Additionally, the official opening of the first set of consultations was in July, and the official closing was last month, in October.

However, during the first two weeks of November, the Commission’s director of compliance, Mandy Gill, said more than 3,000 submissions “were made in total.” On that note, Miller wrote that the regulator experienced wide engagement during the aforementioned first set of consultations. He also added that the UKGC is analyzing the responses at the moment.

The primary focus of this round was on vulnerability checks, aka accessibility checks, and financial risk, aka direct marketing and cross selling, online games design and age verification on premises. On a related note, accessibility checks were one of the extra contentious features of the White Paper for the industry. During the first 2 weeks of November, the Jockey Club’s Chief Executive, Nevin Truesdale, began an online petitionagainst accessibility checks. However, by the time of writing, it has generated more than 84,000 signatures.

Moreover, Lord Lipsey, chairman of Premier Greyhound Racing and the Labour Party peer, was also against the aforementioned accessibility checks not too long ago. He claimed “it would damage greyhound racing.” In addition, also during October, Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of UKGC, highlighted misinformation about accessibility checks. He also repeated this last week, dismissing arguments that “affordability checks would drive buyers to the black market.”