What Does UKGC Invest Money In?
An estimated 5 million people experience gambling-related problems in the UK. According to some quarters, the figure is believed to be underestimated. Having discovered negative consequences of gambling, regulators and policymakers have set different solutions in motion, the frontrunner being the United kingdom gambling commission which devised a variety of policies aimed at improving the standard of life of gamers and ethics of operation among gambling operators.
Responsible Gambling Policy
A safe gambling policy is a discourse which has gained traction recently, majorly due to the hitherto bad gambling practice. Moreso, the effect of problem gambling is felt by not gamblers only, but also their family, close relations, and friends.
To this end, the UK Gambling Commission has an institutionalized responsible gambling policy a focal point in its recent activities, by coming up with the following scheme:
- Publishing a licence conditions and code of practice which stipulates among others, the need for commercial gambling operators to operationalize measures that prioritise customer protection, and welfare. This has prompted gambling operators to provide education and resources which reduces gambling-related harm.
- Working with a number of organizations, including the “national strategy to reduce gambling harms” to provide treatment, awareness, harm prevention to gamblers
- Ensure compliance of regulations and code of practice by licence holders through various ways, such as advice and guidance to licence holders, visiting and entering premises of licence holders, imposing additional licence conditions, etc.
- Issuance of licence to both private and public bodies who assist the commission to enforce compliance with safer gambling requirement, such as research, information on players, self-exclusion by players etc
- Partnering with industry groups and regulators to raise standards of safer gambling.
The Commission’s Self-Exclusion Model
In a bid to combat commercial gambling operators, who employ different tactics to aid gamers towards recalcitrance of a safer gambling policy, the UK gambling commission (The commission) introduced Gamstop in 2018; an online self-exclusion scheme that enables gamers to register in order to avoid gambling.
To invigorate the scheme, the commission mandated all UK licensed online gambling operators, and other reputable casinos operators, to get involved in the scheme.
On this backdrop, gamers can use a single request, upon registration, to prevent themselves from using gambling websites or applications of all operators involved in the scheme. Registration on the platform affords gamers to self-exclude from gambling with all UK licenced operators for a specified period(such as 6 months, 1 year or 5 years) depending on choice. When the specified period elapses, the self-imposed prohibition remains for the gamers until a request is made to Gamstop to remove them.
Although the policy extends to on-premises gambling businesses, it was introduced, largely to self-exclude gamers from online operators, which makes safe gambling difficult, through spamming of gamers’ phones and email with marketing offers.
It is noteworthy that the scheme, like any other, also had initial fails, whereby gamers still received marketing emails from online operators. Other operators, as well as unlicensed operators, were able to reach gamers and offer them slots not in GamStop database via NonStopCasino.org and alternative sites engineered to target self-excluded gamers.
However, with continuous improvement to the scheme, the aforementioned issues and many related are being corrected subsequently.
The Commission’s Anti-Money Laundering Policy
As part of its aims to promote safe gambling policy among operators, the commission through its 2016 publication of a review of the crime-related provisions of the licensing condition and code of practice, stipulated operationalizing anti-money laundering measures by gambling operators to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. This is to be done in various ways, including tracking gamers’ online gambling, among others.
The companies must ensure their anti-money laundering measures and procedures are up to date and that all employees are trained to adhere to these statutory measures.
The commission in order to achieve the success of this policy regulates compliance among gambling operators through various means including:
As part of the new licensing policy (Licence condition 12.1), all UK licenced gambling operators, both within and outside the UK must carry out risk assessments of their business to ascertain vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing. Such assessment must be reviewed annually(at least) according to circumstantial alterations, and subsequently, put technical measures in place to combat money laundering and related crimes.
Subsequently, licence condition 15 imposes an obligation on all licenced gambling operators to notify the commission of money related criminal investigations carried out by law enforcement agencies within that operator’s sphere of business.
Based on complaints from customers and reported from law enforcement agencies, the commission conducts an investigation on errant gambling operators to assess compliance or impose a penalty where necessary
In order to enforce compliance among operators, the commission makes examples of erring companies through revoking their licence or imposing high amounts of fines on those companies.