UKGC reinforces affordability checks for bettors amid lockdown

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has warned betting operators of their duty of care to vulnerable and isolated customers, who may not be able to afford to place wagers, during a third national lockdown.

Licensed operators have been ordered to undertake strict player affordability checks, maintaining the protocols established by the UKGC’s ‘COVID-19 strengthened guidance’.

The UKGC feared that some companies may exploit lockdown conditions to promote their products or services. However, it cautioned operators to expect the highest monitoring of operator behaviour and conduct on compliance procedures during a critical year for the gambling sector.  

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the UKGC, penned a letter to industry leaders, reaffirming: “We know that some consumers, such as highly engaged gamblers who play a range of products, are likely to spend more time and money gambling and the fact that sport will continue during this lockdown will mean there are more opportunities for betting customers to gamble.”

As the UK public faces a further year under lockdown constraints, the UKGC said it will continue to revise its regulatory (RTS) and license (LCCP) requirements on customer and consumer protections.

McArthur continued: “Since March we have all adapted to new ways of working and this new phase will be a challenge for us all. However, operators must now more than ever, continue to be vigilant to protect their customers.”  Employees who have concerns with regards to the behaviour of their companies have been told to contact the UKGC’s ‘Confidential Intelligence Hotline’.