UKGC proposes new controls

New measures will include rules on game design.
New measures will include rules on game design.

The UK Gambling Commission has officially announced proposed new controls over game design, VIP incentives and advertising.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has published a range of new proposals including varying loss limits and stake limits based on player circumstances and rules on the use of advertising technology.

For the first time, the Commission itself has weighed into the area of game design, after it said its working group on the issue had fallen short of requirements.  

The new announcement details proposals in three areas, game design, VIP incentives and advertising.

Game design in online gambling

The BGC will draft a code on game design but it’s not expected until the end of September.

Proposed changes include imposing a minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds for slots and the elimination of features such as turbo spin that accelerate game play as well as slam stops or stop reels. Split-screen games allowing multiple stakes on different slots would also be ruled out.

It also said that there was wide support for an average maximum stake limit of £1 per spin, and for the introduction of different stake and loss limits for different consumers based on players’ personal circumstances. These would be able to increase after due diligence checks.

Criticising its working group’s results, the UKGC said it wanted to see a commitment to using demographic or behavioural tools to identify players at risk of gambling harm and differential limits for those groups.

VIP gamblers

The Commission’s working group on VIP incentives headed up by GVC Holdings and the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) has already produced a draft code of conduct.

Its new proposals include limiting VIP incentives to over 25s and ensuring that operator teams in charge of VIP programs don’t receive commission or bonuses related to customer spending. It also proposes imposing enhanced scrutiny of customer spending and the keeping of VIP audit trails that record all decisions taken. Operators would be obliged to appoint a senior executive or board member to take accountability for VIP programmes.

The Commission said: “If implemented quickly, the measures in this code could address the challenge set. We want to see these additional protections implemented as soon as possible and believe this is achievable given a number are based on existing regulatory requirements.

“Our view is that for tailored incentives and bonuses to continue to have a place in the industry, we need to be satisfied they are being offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives. Where a licensee cannot provide that assurance, they should not be offering such schemes.”

The UKGC has launched a consultation to get views on the draft code for VIP incentives.

Gambling advertising

The UKGC will add its working group’s advertising proposals to the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising this July. The new regulations will include rules limiting social media and pay-per-click advertising to over 25s only through the use of ad-tech.

Last month the UK Gambling Commission tightened certain measures to protect problem gamblers during Covid-19 lockdown.

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