UK: First Gambling Commission white paper consultations due this summer

The Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission’s deputy chief executive promised the Lotteries Council Annual Conference “less haste, more speed”.

UK.- The British Gambling Commission‘s deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner has said that the results of some of the regulator’s gambling white paper consultations will be published this summer. She told the Lotteries Council Annual Conference that the commission needed to “get it right” on its consultations regarding Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.

She promised attendees that “less haste and more speed will be our approach” and said it was the regulator’s “intention that the first set of white paper-related LCCP consultations will be published this summer and pre-consultation engagement with stakeholders will have begun in a number of other policy areas”.

She added: “Whilst I’m not in a position to tell you what those will be yet, we will be publishing more information on this in the near future so do please keep an eye out for more updates.”

Until then, she called on operators to follow Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes‘ three principles of “putting people first; doing the right thing; and, regulation that works for all”.

She added that operators should focus on “ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way” and “protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling”.

She also reaffirmed Rhodes’ message that operators that fall short will be heavily penalised.

“Where operators fail to get the message about what we expect from them, in terms of keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free, we will, through our compliance and enforcement work, take action,” she told the forum.

“But where operators have got the message – and many operators who fit that description are sat in this room today – we are open to engaging with you and collaborating to raise standards and improve outcomes more quickly than we can by acting alone. And that will be especially true for the work ahead to implement the Gambling Act Review white paper.”

Charity lotteries

As well as an update on the British gambling landscape overall, Gardner highlighted the contributions of Society Lotteries and Charity Lotteries, noting that they “play an enormously important role in our communities”.

She said: “Alongside the National Lottery, society lotteries raise great sums for good causes up and down the country and everyone in this room should be commended for your efforts for the public good your work leads to, year in and year out. Whilst we don’t track the totals for smaller society lotteries, it’s worth pointing out that in the year to March 2022, large Society Lotteries raised £417m for good causes.

“Coming through a pandemic as we have done, it makes clearer just how important fundraising for charities and good causes is.”

She provided some numbers for the sector:

  • In year to March 2023, 13.4 per cent of adults had participated in a charity lottery in the last four weeks. This has increased from 10.8 per cent in 2018 and was one of the only gambling activities not to see a significant decrease in participation during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • In 2022, participation in charity lotteries was 17.3 per cent amongst 65+ year-olds, compared to just 3 per cent amongst those aged 16-24. Along with bingo, it’s the only gambling product in which women are more likely to participate than men.
  • In the year to March 2023, 63 per cent of people participated in charity lotteries online against 34 per cent in person. This balance has shifted over time.

She drew particular attention to the growing number of people playing charity lotteries online and said this meant operators needed to show new precautions.

Gardner said: “Society Lotteries are a successful gambling product and have been growing the number of participants in recent years, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Those participants look different to the players of most other forms of gambling too.

She added: “The statistic that jumps out at me there is the rate of online play. Given that the growth of online gambling has slowed somewhat, the level of play for society lotteries online is stark. And that raises questions.

“How well do you know your customers online? Online play is of course very different for society lotteries compared to other types of gambling, often just a method of payment. But whether you’re simply offering an online payment option or have developed instant win products, questions on how you interact with your customers online are worth considering in either case.”

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