The white paper – Proposals to update UK gambling legislation (II)

By Dan Iliovici, Vice-President ROMBET

In April 2023, the British Government published the so-called White Paper, officially titled “High Stakes: gambling reform for the digital age”*1. The act appeared as a result of a necessary update of gambling legislation from 2005. This month’s article continues the presentation of this document, hoping that it can be a source of inspiration for an equally necessary debate for the revision of gambling legislation in our country.

To begin with, I will resume a very important chapter from the White Paper, the one regarding:

“Benefits of gambling
There are also benefits to gambling which should be weighed in decision making, although they do not negate the need to prevent gambling-related harm. For most people who participate, gambling is a leisure and entertainment activity, as explored in the Gambling Commission’s research into why people gamble and its research into customer journeys. While the risks vary by product and other factors, gambling participation is generally not in itself harmful and may even be positive.
Gambling can be sociable, can help tackle loneliness and isolation, can enhance the enjoyment of other activities, and can be a valuable pastime in its own right, although quantifying these benefits is inherently difficult.
For the majority of people in the Gambling Commission’s research, gambling was just another normal activity which they reported feeling completely in control of. While motivations varied, around three quarters of respondents to the why people gamble study agreed that the opportunity to win money was a part of the enjoyment, while 66% agreed they ‘get a thrill from finding out if they’ve won or not’.
There are also economic benefits to having a well regulated industry to service this demand. The sector pays approximately £2 billion per year to the government in duties (excluding Lottery Duty), accounted for £5.7 billion or 0.3% of UK Gross Value Addded (GVA) in 2019, and employed approximately 98,000 people in Great Britain in 2019. While many gambling companies do operate overseas hubs, the jobs in this country are geographically dispersed, with hubs of high skill work in areas like Stoke-on-Trent and Leeds.
The gambling sector also contributes significantly to other industries, including sport, advertising and racing. Horse racing in particular has a mutually beneficial relationship with betting, and the levy paid by bookmakers on their racing derived revenue contributes around £100 million a year to support the sport.
Gambling can also contribute to tourism, for instance to seaside towns across the country, or highend casinos attracting wealthy overseas visitors who spend across a number of other sectors while in this country. Additionally, some gambling products enable charities and other non-commercial organisations such as sports clubs to raise valuable funds. For instance, large society lotteries generated over £400 million in 2020/21 in returns to good causes.”
After this presentation, we continue the detailed presentation of the document.

“Chapter 1: Online protections – players and products

■ The evidence suggests that particular elements and products of online gambling are associated with an elevated risk of harm. Equally, technological development has presented new opportunities to protect players. Making the most of these is central to ensuring our framework is fit for the digital age.

This chapter proposes a range of targeted interventions:

Account level protections
■ The Gambling Commission will consult on new obligations on operators to conduct checks to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances. This will target three key risks identified by the Gambling Commission in its casework: binge gambling, significant unaffordable losses over time and financially vulnerable customers.

■ In general, this government agrees with the principle that people should be free to spend their money how they see fit, so we propose a targeted system of financial risk checks that is proportionate to the risk of harm occurring.
Assessments should start with unintrusive checks at moderate levels of spend (we propose £125 net loss within a month or £500 within a year), and if necessary escalate to checks which are more detailed but still frictionless at higher loss levels where the risks are greater (we propose £1,000 loss within a day or £2,000 within 90 days). We also propose that the triggers for enhanced checks should be lower for those aged 18 to 24.

■ Once a suitably effective and secure platform is in place, the Gambling Commission will consult on making data sharing on high risk customers mandatory for all remote operators. Individual operators can take steps to prevent harm on their own platform, but people suffering gambling harms often hold multiple accounts. Where there are serious concerns, operators must work together.

■ While account verification is on the whole effective, there are difficulties in matching payment details to the account holder. This creates compliance risks and potential harms for those experiencing problem gambling and affected others. With new technologies and payment regulations now in place, the Commission will work with others to consider what more can be done to reduce this risk.”


Articolul precedentAndrei Beu from Gamingtec, keynote speaker at Exact Time in Gambling / Serbia
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