It seems it’s great news for the gambling industry as the UK Gambling Commission has unveiled a series of new ‘Social Responsibility Measures’.
These new measures are being enforced by the Commission to protect gamblers and young players that might come to harm from gambling related activities. They’re managing this great plan by enforcing a new code of practice and license condition for UK sites that it regulates.
What are the New Measures?
According to sources, these new measures will place pressure on gambling operators and their staff to regularly supervise customers on their premises or those using their online services. They also need to identify those who may be at risk and put in place appropriate responses even if their players are showing no clear signs.
But their stipulations don’t stop there because the bigger operators and larger brands also need to regularly conduct ‘test purchases’. What this means is that they need to check that it’s not possible for anyone underage to gamble on their sites.
Gambling operators also need to provide the ability for their customers to make a single Self-exclusion request that will blanket other gambling providers in their area. So, players that exclude from one brand can’t go elsewhere to get their fix.
Finally, gambling providers need to provide socially responsible gambling marketing and provide ‘time-out’ areas for players to take a break from their gambling that comes with a usage screen so players can see how often they gamble.
The Chair of the UK Gambling Commission, Philip Graf said of this development: “The work we have done represents a significant strengthening of the social responsibilities of the LCCP.”
He continued: “It is clear that much more could be achieved if anonymous gambling in cash wasn’t such a prominent feature of gambling.”
Mr Graf. went on to say that removing this anonymity of players would raise its own challenges, but he hinted that it would benefit players and that a public debate on benefits of doing this would work.
What Does This Mean For The Bingo Industry?
Of course, this raises the question that, what exactly will this mean for the online bingo industry?
Well for starters, being able to identify people who may be at risk of developing a gambling problem or coming to more harm from gambling is a huge step forward for the industry. Being able to spot at-risk cases before anything worse happens will help to reduce the demonizing of the industry as a vice that only leads to harm.
Because, after all, there are thousands of people that enjoy a little dabble on bingo and other gambling areas like casino sites and slots and they’re all safe to use.
Also, it will allow bingo sites to become safer places to play as their staff will take more of an interest in their users instead of counting them as just another number. It could also bring the gambling community together as they try to help out other players that might be at risk of falling into an addiction or further harm from gambling.
However, on the other hand, you could say that this is the UK Gambling Commission taking a bit of a ‘nanny-state’ approach to gambling. It might lead to stricter controls and restrictions on gambling sites in the name of ‘protecting players’. Although the likelihood of that happening seems a bit of a stretch.
The UK Gambling Commissions policies will not go into effect until April 2016 and with a plan to provide a national online self-exclusion programme by 2017, time will tell if this new plan by the UKGC works out or not.