The UK Gambling Commission is set to ‘deploy resources’ to tackle black market threats to gambling customers, as the regulator continues to focus on player protection.
Speaking to industry stakeholders at last week’s ICE 2022 London trade show, the Commission’s Deputy CEO Sarah Gardner detailed that the black market in UK gambling poses a significant threat to customers despite attempts to promote safer gambling.
Particularly, the Betting and Gaming Council has warned DCMS to consider the threat of the black market when devising new legislation as part of the imminent review of the Gambling Act 2005.
Regarding the black market, Gardner remarked: “That is obviously an area of focus for us, but we do at least know about it and we are deploying more resources to combat it.”
In order to safeguard customers, Gardner said that both the regulator and industry need to be ‘more agile in how we respond to the challenges we face as this market continues to evolve at pace’, whilst sharing best practice, leveraging data and gaining a ‘truer picture of consumer behaviour’.
Furthermore, Gardner affirmed that UKGC will continue to gather and interpret data and statistics in its approach, as tackling gambling harms in the UK remains a key objective.
Gambling Minister, Chris Philp, and the regulator’s CEO, Andrew Rhodes, have both promoted the development of a Single Customer Viewpoint (SCV) as a headline measure to safeguard future generations of gambling customers.
“In essence, we are improving the way we collect our most important dataset, to create a single, gold-standard survey that covers the whole of Great Britain,” Gardner stated.
“Data is also integral to our work on the Single Customer View – the goal of which is for industry to use their data in a more joined-up manner to protect consumers from harm.”
Concluding, the Deputy CEO asserted that UKGC will continue ‘with confidence and show our collective capability’, but also noted that the regulator will continue to penalise companies that flout licensing conditions. Particularly, she noted that it plans to conduct 130 regulatory investigations over the next year.
“We have been clear to the operators we regulate that a growing business is not an excuse for growing misconduct, and we will not turn a blind eye to bad practice,” Gardner said.
Last month, UKGC hit a fine of £3.15m on the National Lottery operator Camelot as a result of ‘failures linked to its mobile app’, after it was found to send out promotional marketing material to both self-excluded customers and customers highlighted by Camelot to show signs of gambling harms.
Gardner warned that investigations and regulatory intervention alone are not enough to combat gambling-related harm. Instead, she highlighted that stakeholders must ‘keep talking’ and share best practices, improve the utilisation of data and build greater insights into consumer habits in order to address the challenges of a rapidly evolving gambling sector.