On Tuesday, the UK Gambling Commission announced they are seeking views from the industry, consumers and other stakeholders on strengthening the requirements regarding identifying customers who may be prone to gambling-related harm and the interaction needed to prevent such harm.
The call is around strengthening the expectations on online gambling businesses to act on the information they have about a consumer’s vulnerability.
Related to this is affordability checks, with the thresholds and nature of these checks to be set by the Gambling Commission also up for consultation.
Click here if you would like to participate in the survey.
The SBC Digital Summit rolled into the CIS territories this week and there were a number of interesting discussions on a Responsible Gaming theme.
The key takeaway was that while there are no strict requirements regarding Safer Gambling in many CIS countries, and more specifically Georgia and Armenia, it is becoming of greater social concern. This means politicians are starting to notice, which is why the industry has been more pro-active on the issue over the last 18 months.
Indeed, the slowness of operators to address this issue – and the subsequent heavy-handed regulation in numerous territories in Western Europe has not gone unnoticed. Keto Barabadze highlighted some of the initiatives Adjarabet has undertaken regarding the marketing of Safer Gambling while Gedi Gelbakhiani of Gelbakhiani Legal Services pointed out the growing popularity of gambling in Georgia is almost certainly going to attract greater scrutiny from regulators.
It is vital, therefore, for the industry to have a constructive dialogue with regulators, politicians and the public, not least because gambling employs 11,000 people in Georgia alone, with 80% of casino players in the country being tourists. In this context, Bachana Shengelia of Galt & Taggart highlighted the importance of voluntary campaigns on Safer Gambling.
The UK Gambling Review
The chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (APPG), Carolyn Harris, was recently interviewed on iGB’s Gambling Review Podcast and stressed it was only a matter of time before tougher regulation came into force in the UK.
She said: “The media is really keen to see change and most importantly, the public is. The public’s attitude toward problem gambling has changed completely.”
As well as clamping down on loot boxes in video games, raising the age to play the National Lottery from 16 and gambling advertising, she also called for the abolition of VIP schemes, claiming: “They have to get rid of the VIP section.
“This industry makes more money from VIPs […] than from all the rest of [their customers] put together.
“If a company did this, they’d still be a profitable company, but they wouldn’t be as profitable. You could still have an online presence making a sensible profit, but not an online presence making an obscene profit and ruining people’s lives. I know which I’d rather.”
She also renewed her criticism of the Gambling Commission, saying it is “not fit for purpose” and that it needs a complete change.
Electronic Arts in Holland
Speaking of loot boxes, after we went to print last Friday, it was announced that Electronic Arts faces a possible €10m fine in the Netherlands as a Dutch court ruled that FIFA packs are a form of gambling.
This protracted legal battle and ultimate conclusion could have huge ramifications for the video gaming industry worldwide.
On Tuesday, the Royal Advertising Decree was approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers, meaning it will now be enforced as federal law.
Spain’s autonomous communities will now apply a ‘night time window of 1-5 am’ in which gambling advertising is permitted outside of the lottery.
Promotions cannot feature any sports athletes, while all digital and social media adverts must feature ‘age restriction filters’ and welcome bonuses will be capped to a single offer of €100.
All Spanish football clubs have until the end of the current season to ensure all gambling ties are wound up.
As Sweden has demonstrated, these tough restrictions tend to backfire and push people towards offshore or illegal operators. It may also have serious ramifications for Spanish football. Warnings have already been made, but are being ignored.
Finally, it was announced this week that the Professional Darts Players Association has partnered with Gamstop to promote greater awareness of the self-exclusion tools available to anyone fearing they have a gambling problem.
Practical workshops, internal communications and social media promotion are all part of this initiative, which builds on the PDPA’s existing measures, some of which are provided by Sporting Chance.
Meanwhile, the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has partnered with national sports charity ‘StreetGames’ and Yorkshire Sport Foundation (YSF) in a new training alliance set to educate young people on gambling-related harm.
The potential risks and consequences of gambling will be explored in bespoke training sessions and is another example of YGAM going into local communities and educating youngsters on this issue.
If you want to know more about safer gambling, please follow this link to join Damn Mad Media’s Safer Gambling Marketing Group.