UK Gaming Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for February 08, 2019

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Feb 8, 2019

New ID Verification Rules Published By UKGC

In force from May 7, 2019

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published new identification (ID) verification rules Thursday, effective May 7, 2019.

The new rules, which follow an open consultation, will ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details faster.

A present online operators have 72 hours to carry out verification checks, and while play can commence, customers cannot withdraw winnings until the age verification has been completed. In the event that the verification reveals an underage customer, operators are required to return their stakes.

The new rules now require operators to verify customer age before the customer can deposit funds into an account and gamble with either their own money or a free bet or bonus.

In addition, the Commission requires licensees to ensure customers have been age verified before they are able to access free-to-play versions of gambling games.

Remote licensees will be required to:

  • verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble.
  • ask for any additional verification information promptly.
  • inform customers, before they can deposit funds, of the types of identity documents or other information that might be required, the circumstances in which the information might be required, and how it should be supplied to the licensee.
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers’ identities remains accurate.

The UKGC believes the changes will also increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded on either the operator’s own self-exclusion schemes or the online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, Gamstop.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said:

“These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling. They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.’’

“Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest. Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, added:

“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after. They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online.

“By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling- related harm.”

Future developments include the launch of a consultation on plans to make explicit the UKGC’s expectations on how to interact with a customer who may be experiencing gambling-related harm and will be calling for evidence on the use of gambling blocking software.

UK ASA Study Shows Underage Exposure To Gambling Ads Is Declining

Almost 40 percent decline in 2017 compared to 2013

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (UKASA) has revealed the results of a study that show a 40 percent decline in children’s exposure to gambling advertisements between 2013 and 2017.

Between 2008 and 2017, exposure increased 25 percent from an average in 2008 of 2.2 ads per week (the first full year in which ads for gaming and betting were allowed on TV) to 2.8 ads per week in 2017.

Compared to 2013 where children’s exposure to gambling ads peaked at an average of 4.5 ads per week, 2017’s tally of 2.8 ads per week equates to a decrease of 37.3 percent.

Children’s exposure to gambling ads, relative to adults’, has fallen year-on-year from 38.6 percent in 2008 to 19.6 percent in 2017. In other words children see, on average, about one TV ad for gambling for every five seen by adults in 2017.

Gambling ads made up less than 2 percent of all the TV ads that children saw on average every year between 2008 and 2017.

The majority of TV ads for gambling that children have seen since 2011 (the first year when the ASA can be confident about product breakdown information for gambling ads) are ads for bingo, lottery and scratchcards.

Children saw, on average, a peak of 1.9 ads per week for bingo in 2013, decreasing to 0.8 ads per week in 2017, and a peak of 1.3 ads per week for lottery and scratchcards in 2012, decreasing to 0.9 ads per week in 2017.

Children’s exposure to ads for sports-betting has decreased from an average of one ad per week in 2011 to 0.4 ads per week in 2017.

Children’s exposure to all TV ads reduced by 29.7 percent from a peak of 229.3 ads per week in 2013 to a low of 161.2 ads in 2017. Over the same period, children’s exposure to gambling ads decreased by 37.3 percent. This suggests that the decline in children’s exposure to all TV ads might account for over three-quarters of the reduction in children’s exposure to TV ads for gambling products.

Read the full report here:

UK And Gibraltar Agree Future Of Gambling After Brexit

Will deepen relationship across a range of sectors

An agreement has been reached at the eighth meeting of the joint Ministerial Council between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar across a number of sectors following Britain’s exit from the European Union (BREXIT).

The meeting, attended by five UK ministers, agreed cooperation in the gambling, environmental and transport sectors, among others.

Minister of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) – Robin Walker:

“Today was another opportunity to ensure the close UK-Gibraltar ties can move from strength to strength outside the EU.

“This positive and constructive meeting was marked by further progress including confirming that the Gibraltar Protocol and accompanying MOUs protect Gibraltar’s interests, and should form the basis of the way forward in securing an EU Exit that works for Gibraltar.”

The Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies, announced the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable closer working between gambling regulators in Great Britain and Gibraltar, building on the commitment that gambling operators based in Gibraltar will continue to access the UK market after we leave the EU in the same way they do now.

Ladbrokes Coral In The Spotlight Again

But not for the right reasons

If a report in The Guardian newspaper has any merit, Ladbrokes Coral appears to be stumbling from one public snafu to another.

The latest follows the emergence of a non-disclosure agreement late last year in which a problem gambler and relatives agreed to not report Ladbrokes’ gambling exclusion failures to authorities in a hush-settlement of almost GBP 1 million.

In Wednesday’s report, retail staff have reportedly been advised via an internal memo that between 1,000 and 3,500 shop closures and accompanying job losses are imminent due to the FOBT maximum bet rate being slashed from GBP 100 to GBP2.

The memo allegedly detailed the decision of which shops to close would be decided by a weighted ranking system of which 30 percent relies on how many retail clients staff manage to convert to online.

“Bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral is telling shop staff to sign up as many gamblers as possible to online accounts if they want to avoid being among 5,000 employees it plans to make redundant,” the Guardian report reads.

The decision on which shops to close over the next 18 to 24 months will be made following a 45-day “collective consultation” period, the internal communication apparently reads.

Betting shop trade union Community said the cuts would be “deeply worrying” for Ladbrokes employees, adding that front line staff should not bear the brunt of the impact.

“The company’s consultation document has caused real concern among our members, with many believing that decisions have already been made to target those workers in betting shops outside the city centres,” Tom Blenkinsop, operations director of betting shop trade union Community, told the Guardian.

“Ladbrokes must immediately engage with Community, the union for betting shop workers, to see if an alternative plan can be found to avoid job losses. The government also has a role to play, and must look at what support they can offer to workers whose jobs are at risk as an unintended consequence of changes to the law.”

Tombola Censured FOR ADS Within ITV APP

Displayed occasionally in “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here” App

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint regarding Tombola ads that appeared “occasionally” in ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here” app.

Tombola is a sponsor of ITV’s hit reality TV series in which celebrities live together in a jungle environment, competing for the title of “King” or “Queen of the Jungle”.

The ASA determined there was the likelihood that under-18’s may be exposed to advertising for gambling products through the advertising and told Tombola and ITV the ads may not appear in their current form in the app again.

The ads invited app users to watch video clips including one headed “PLAY OUR SLOT GAMES” and another with text that read “Play our scratch card games”. Another advertised the chance to win GBP 250,000 “for free” and appeared in the VOTE section of the app.

Clicking on the ads opened the Tombola arcade website in the user’s browser app.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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