The Gambling Commission (GC) and Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have recently announced a set of new rules and standards to be followed by gambling companies in the UK. These rules aim to enhance player protection and promote responsible gambling practices. Let’s dive into the details of these new regulations. The GC has set out a series of new rules that will be implemented in four stages, with completion expected by February 2025. These rules include:

1. Light-Touch Financial Vulnerability Checks

The GC aims to reduce cases of players engaging in gambling when bankrupt, spending more than their annual or monthly salaries, or spending excessively in a short period. Light-touch financial vulnerability checks will be introduced for customers with a net deposit of more than £150 per month on gambling. The threshold will be £500 per month from August 30, 2024, and will reduce to £150 per month from February 28, 2025.

2. Frictionless Financial Risk Assessments

The GC will pilot a test to assess players’ risk of financial harm using data from gambling companies and credit reference agencies. This assessment will not impact consumer credit ratings and will run for six months.

3. Reducing Intensity and Increasing Consumer Understanding of Online Products

Several features will be removed from online gambling products, including autoplay, ‘turbo,’ ‘slam stop,’ casino spin speeds less than five seconds (except for peer-to-peer poker), multi-game play, and certain audio or visual celebrations. These changes will be implemented by January 17, 2025.

4. Direct Marketing

Gambling companies must provide opt-in options for direct marketing related to specific products and channels, giving customers more control over the advertising they receive. This applies only to online gambling and will be implemented by January 17, 2025.

5. Age Verification

Land-based gambling operations must conduct age verification test purchasing and will be required to age verify anyone who appears to be under 25, as opposed to the previous threshold of under 21. This will be implemented by August 30, 2024.

6. Personal Management Licences

The expected management roles for those with a Personal Management Licence have been clarified and extended. These provisions will be implemented by November 30, 2024.

The BGC has introduced a voluntary Code on Customer Checks, written jointly with the GC, which sets out guidelines for operator interactions when players make rolling net deposits of £5,000+ monthly (£2,500+ for those aged 18-24) or £25,000 annually. Operators will be required to:

  • Carry out vulnerability assessments on those who meet the above thresholds or the GC’s financial vulnerability check thresholds.
  • Conduct questionnaires, request deposit limits, send activity statements, and engage in telephone and live chat interactions with vulnerable customers.
  • Conduct risk assessments on those wishing to deposit £5,000+ monthly, which may include income or wealth checks.
  • Conduct risk assessments on those wishing to deposit £25,000+ annually, which will often include document requests such as Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD).
  • Implement intervention measures for those deemed to be at risk.

These new rules and standards aim to protect gamblers from financial harm and promote responsible gambling practices. As a gambler, it’s essential to be aware of these changes and how they may affect your gambling experience. The increased focus on financial vulnerability checks and risk assessments may require you to provide additional information or documentation when making significant deposits. It’s crucial to practice responsible gambling and to seek help if you feel that gambling is negatively impacting your life. Many resources are available, including helplines, support groups, and self-exclusion programs.

The new rules and standards set out by the Gambling Commission and Betting and Gaming Council demonstrate a commitment to protecting gamblers and promoting responsible gambling practices in the UK. As these changes are implemented over the coming months and years, it’s essential for both gambling operators and gamblers to stay informed and adapt accordingly. By working together, we can create a safer and more sustainable gambling environment for all.

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