UK Gambling Commission Announces 2018-19 Business Plan

Punters keeping an eye on the high-profile and often fractious relationship between the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the gambling operators the agency licenses and oversees have some new signposts to monitor. The Gambling Commission has just released its business plan for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which outlines how the Commission will be operating over the coming months, in addition to what issues remain priorities and when the UKGC expects more action to occur.

It’s the first of three such annual plans from the Gambling Commission, which announced last November its intent to increase its own internal benchmarking. The UKGC’s 2018-19 fiscal year began on April 1, which means that many of the plan’s objectives outlined as “Q1” (Quarter 1) are already underway.

As previously reported, the Gambling Commission will be focusing on five key priorities in the short term:

  • Protecting the interests of consumers
  • Preventing harm to consumers and the public
  • Raising standards in the gambling market
  • Optimising returns to good causes from lotteries
  • Improving the way we regulate.

The plans to do that focusing and prioritising include:

  • Key milestones for our core functions of advising, licensing and regulating
  • Specific projects, which we expect to complete during 2018-19
  • Foundation work in preparation for delivery in the second and third years of the strategy.

Getting down to the brass tacks of the UKGC’s internal plans, a handful of efforts are already underway. Under the category of “Prevent[ing] harm to the consumers and to the public, one goal the agency plans to fulfill this quarter is to “Establish a transparent way for money from regulatory settlements to be used to support innovation and research into safer gambling”. That’s intended to dissuade any public notion that fines and penalties assessed against operators aren’t just disappearing into the UKGC’s general fund.

Three more initiatives already receiving attention fall under the category of “Rais[ing] standards in the gambling market”, a harp which the GC often plays. Two of those should see results by early summer: Creating an annual enforcement report focused on raising standards in the gambling market, and conducting a strategic assessment of gambling-related crime. A third aim, to deliver a programme for the industry on best practice, including publications and events, will receive ongoing attention throughout the 2018-19 fiscal year.

If you’re into lotteries, know that the UKGC is paying attention to that niche as well. Up for immediate attention is a plan to provide better information for consumers on how the funds raised by society lotteries are used, with that info coming along in the next couple of months. A longer-term objective, according to the Commission, is to “respond to [UK lottery operator] Camelot’s strategy to increase the money raised for good causes by taking informed decisions about regulation.”

One more area will receive immediate Gambling Commission attention, this under the category of “Improv[ing] the way we regulate”. Up first is the plan for an advisory panel to continually monitor digital-technology developments that could impact the gambling sector.

The fifth generalised category, “Protect[ing] the interests of consumers’, won’t receive any finalized attention in the current quarter. However, several broad initiatives within this primary year are slated for completion later this year and into 2019. That lengthy list includes:

  • Strengthen rules on advertising, unfair terms and practices, and complaints and disputes, subject to
    a consultation on Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP)
  • Assess the effectiveness of protection in place, and proposed, for National Lottery players in relation to identified best practice
  • Establish a standing focus group of consumers to test policy ideas
  • Introduce additional requirements for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers, and review providers using new standards
  • Set out our approach to reviewing how we make sure that the industry meets the licensing objectives in full
  • Track key consumer metrics and public attitudes to gambling
  • Explore public attitudes towards gambling advertising and support research which considers the impact of gambling advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people.

For a more detailed look at the UKGC’s 2018-19 business plan, click here.

2018-19
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consumer
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