The Gambling Commission of the UK has revealed its plans to publish the initial four consultations from the Gambling Act review white paper, along with two additional projects. The publication of the white paper in April generated public attention, particularly due to the numerous proposals and consultations mentioned within the document.
In response to this, the Commission has now announced that four proposals will be made available for public consultation this month. These include age verification in premises, online games design, direct marketing and cross-selling, and financial risk and vulnerability checks for online operators. Among these, the financial risk checks have drawn considerable criticism and controversy.
The review has faced industry opposition, primarily led by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). Critics argue that the financial risk checks, often referred to as affordability checks, could result in operators requiring detailed financial information from players, potentially alienating them.
Alongside the consultations outlined in the white paper, the Gambling Commission will also launch two additional projects this month. These projects will focus on rules regarding personal management licences and procedures for regulatory panels. The Commission aims to adhere to the usual consultation timeframe, with discussions expected to conclude in October.
Looking ahead, the Commission plans to proceed with the next set of consultations in the autumn, encompassing socially responsible inducements and gambling management tools. In preparation for these consultations, the regulator intends to engage with key stakeholders in the coming weeks.
While the Commission works on the review, it will continue to collaborate with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which will also participate in the consultation process. However, the Commission emphasizes the need for clear roles and responsibilities. For instance, regarding the proposed statutory levy—a tax on gambling operators' revenues to fund research, education, and treatment initiatives—the government will lead its creation, while the Commission will handle tax collection and distribution based on government directions.
Tim Miller, the Commission's executive director for research and policy, acknowledges that the full implementation of the review will require several years. However, he emphasizes the commitment to progressing as quickly as possible, stating, "We are determined to make progress at speed."
The consultations and projects initiated by the Gambling Commission mark significant steps in the ongoing Gambling Act review, reflecting the regulator's efforts to address concerns, promote responsible gambling, and ensure effective industry regulations.
By fLEXI tEAM