The Gambling Commission have recently released their new three-year strategy which aims to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers. A total of £13.8 billion is spent on the British gambling industry each year, with 63% of the population aged 16+ gambling at least once annually.
The strategy, which highlights five main objectives, will see gambling operators taking a more consumer led approach to improve the way the industry works.
The first objective aims to protect the interests of consumers. Gambling operators need to improve customer information on the products they use, and offer more protection for children and vulnerable adults. Users will have more control of their gambling practices and operators will be expected to intervene early should problems arise.
The commission pledges to review and strengthen rules surrounding misleading or unfair practices, and promise a greater understanding of illegal gambling in Britain, working with partners to protect consumers.
A report in December 2016 from GambleAware estimated that problem gambling costs the UK government up to £1.2 billion a year. Gambling can cause harm to the public and consumers in the form of mental health or social problems (including crime).
The Gambling Commission’s second objective, to prevent harm to consumers and the public, pledges to improve regulation and place tighter controls on operators to protect consumers. It calls for improved access to information to both consumers and operators on the risks associated with gambling, and how to mitigate them.
With a promise to create a world leading approach to tackling gambling related harm caused by crime, the new strategy will enforce tighter regulations to prevent money laundering and illegal gambling.
A third objective, which aims to raise standards in the gambling market, will enable consumers to have more trust in the industry. Operators will be forced to have a higher level of accountability including ways to ensure fair play, keep markets free from crime and money laundering, and enable operators to better know their customers.
The Gambling Commission also pledges to optimise returns to good causes from lotteries, by ensuring that the National Lottery continues to be run in a fair and safe way, and encourage complete transparency in the contributions that lotteries make.
The final point highlights improvements to the way the Gambling Commission itself regulates, with a pledge to consider the whole market, long term by applying a risk based approach. Operators should expect the Commission to intervene where necessary, but also anticipate a higher level of engagement between operators and the commission themselves, to protect the market and consumers.