UK Gaming Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for January 11, 2019

UKGC - Big Ben and the Parliament

Three Prominent Banks Mull Gambling Payment Blocking

Santander, Lloyds and RBS to develop option in banking apps

ThisisMoney reports an increased interest from the UK banking industry on developing gambling payment blocking mechanisms in their banking apps.

According to the report major banking institutions Lloyds, RBS and Santander have all approved proposals for the development of gambling payment blocking capabilities enabling customers to set limits on, or even block, gambling transactions from both online and retail operators.

Barclays implemented gambling payment blocking in December across its digital platforms.

UK Govt. To Up Support For Problem Gamblers

PM targets gambling addicts as part of GBP 20.5 billion ‘health boost’

In an exclusive report, the UK’s Mirror Newspaper has revealed Prime Minister Theresa May has committed GBP 20.5 billion a year to a NHS ‘health boost’ which includes more mental health support for problem gamblers.

According to the report, a National Health System (NHS) shake-up will include the opening of a number of gambling addiction clinics over the next five years. At present only one exists in South West London.

The development falls under May’s Long Term Plan for the NHS, the Mirror reports.

GamCare To Launch Safer Gambling Standard And New Kite Mark

At ICE Industry Expo 2019

Problem gambling association GamCare is preparing the launch of a new Safer Gambling Statndard in which operators are awarded a new kite mark for meeting and going beyond the required gambling industry Codes of Practice.

The award of the kite mark relies on twelve sets of principles for social responsibility across online, B2C and land-based operations and will be launched at the much anticipated, upcoming industry exhibition ICE London 2019 from within the Consumer Protection Zone.

GamCare Development Director, Mike Kenward:

“ICE London is the heart of the industry and THE place where the conversation around consumer protection and customer welfare should be happening. We will be announcing the full rollout of our new standard in the Consumer Protection Zone where operators should be heading in order to focus on protecting their customers and sustaining their business.”

“There’s never been a better time for companies to focus on their processes and we’re hoping the industry will embrace the Safer Gambling Standard, not just because it’s the right thing to do from an ethical point of view but it’s also right from a business standpoint too.

The new accreditation has been designed to review policy and procedures, digital interactions and corporate governance and culture with staff throughout the company, not just the customer facing team members.

“For responsible gambling measures to be effective, it is essential that they are integrated into organisational culture and flow throughout the organisation. Our new standard focuses on the totality of an operation, from board members and directors down to the front line,” Kenward said.

In related news, GamCare has renewed its partnership with St Mungo’s Recovery College for another six-week recovery course from 31st January 2019.

The course is open to those who want to stop gambling as well as those who hope to control and reduce their gambling.

Modules will explore what can lead to problem gambling, how to cope with situations that usually lead to gambling in a different way, how to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling and how to prevent and manage relapses.

The new weekly course, run by the GamCare team, will take place on Thursdays from 31st January – 7th March 2019, from 5.30pm – 7pm.

UKGC Updates AML Procedures

In effect from January 1, 2019

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has updated guidance for non-remote and remote casinos on the prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and their advice for all other operators on Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

“The purpose of these updates is to incorporate changes in relation to the submission of SARs by operators where the remote gambling equipment used in a transaction which is known or suspected to involve money laundering is located in Gibraltar and involves a British customer,” the UKGC said.

“These changes are on page 69 of the updated casino guidance and on page 38 of the updated POCA advice document. Paragraph 6.45 of the casino guidance has also been amended to make it clearer and to provide further guidance.”

The updated guidance and advice will come into effect on 1 January 2019, and the UKGC requests operators familiarise themselves with the changes.

The updated AML guidance doc can be accessed here.

The Duties and responsibilities under the proceeds of crime act 2002 can be accessed here.

In related news, the UKGC is well into its informal consultation on amendments to the protection of customer funds rating system which began December 3, 2018 and ends January 14, 2019.

“This informal consultation will be of interest to all gambling operators, particularly remote operators who hold customer funds to the credit of customers as defined in Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP),” the press statement reads.

At present the UKGC requires operators to use a ratings system to inform customers how their funds are protected in the event of insolvency. This informal consultation proposes to amend the rating system.

Participation in the consultation via an online survey can be accessed here.

Red Rake Gaming Awarded UKGC Remote License

First batch ready for roll-out

Red Rake Gaming is now in a position to offer its gaming content to UK licensed operators having been authorised by the UK Gambling Commission.

The Spain-based developer said the B2B license award in one of the biggest regulated markets worldwide solidifies its market expansion aspirations.

Red Rake Gaming’s first batch of games has already been tested and certified. A second batch is currently undergoing the technical process.

Nick Barr, Managing Director, Red Rake Gaming Malta:

“Acquiring the licences to operate in the UK market is a great step in our regulated strategy for 2019. It will have an immediate impact as many of our customers have UKGC licences and they will be able now to offer our games to their UK player base.

“We are also excited by the opportunities that’s the new license comes with and can proceed with many of the UK operators who have already requested our content. We are also very proud of obtaining the UKGC license as it is testimony of our commitment to responsible gaming and transparency of which the UKGC have the highest standards.”.

Pearce Reappointed To UKGC

For second term of four years

Trevor Pearce has been appointed for a second term of four years to the board of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) by the Secretary of State.

Pearce brings deep experience of running large complex organisations, dealing with international serious and organised crime, and investigation and intelligence practices, including those around anti-money laundering.

This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments.

UK Bookmakers Commit To Greyhound Welfare

Agree additional payments up to GBP 3 million

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Mims Davies MP have announced a new funding deal in which British bookmakers have agreed to contribute up to GBP 3 million towards the welfare of greyhounds.

The Minister for Sport Mims Davies announced that the funding will contribute towards new tailored training for veterinary staff, the expansion of an injury recovery scheme and the provision of more homes for retired greyhounds.

The increased funding for the Greyhound Trust will also go towards improving safety across the nation’s 21 licenced racetracks, kennel improvements and the provision of air-conditioning for trainers’ vehicles to improve welfare standards.

The voluntary commitment from Betfred, William Hill, Sky Betting and Gaming, and Paddy Power Betfair, was reached following discussions chaired by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Major operators Ladbrokes-Coral, Bet 365 and Jennings Bet have previously made commitments on the same basis.

Gambling Minister, Mims Davies, said:

“I am delighted to have reached an agreement with leading operators to ensure the welfare of our greyhounds is protected and improved through this fund.

“As the sixth most watched sport in Britain, it is clear that the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds, from registration to retirement, must be a fundamental part of its successful future.

“I strongly urge all remaining bookmakers that take bets on greyhound racing who have not signed up to this agreement to follow suit and support the sport.

The agreement took effect from 1 January 2019 and is expected to increase the income to the British Greyhound Racing Fund to around GBP 10 million a year.