The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has published an updated set of measures and guidelines for all online casino licensees in the UK intended for more robust player protection during the current COVID-19 lockdown. The measures came after extensive research that the British regulator conducted through YouGov surveys, which showed how participation in gambling is generally down during these times of social distancing, even though engagement in certain activities has generally increased.
The new guidelines include the prevention of reverse withdrawal options for customers until further notice and cessation of promotions with the potential of causing harm to customers. Other measures outlined by the UKGC are such as talking to patrons who have been playing for at least an hour in a single play session, full reviews on gambling threshold for new players, and carrying out affordability assessments on players undergoing gambling-related harm.
Of all the players surveyed, most of them indicated they have not increased the time or money on at least one gambling routine. The research also illustrated that while overall lengths per session have decreased, there has been a spike in the number of sessions being played for over an hour.
Neil McArthur, the UKGC boss, pointed out that gambling operators have to use the information they have on customers to protect them from any harm related to gambling. He also insisted that online operators should put player monitoring measures in place “now more than ever” given that financial uncertainty is impacting their gambling lives, including how much they can spend on gambling.