Neil McArthur: ‘Best behaviour is paramount during this time of crisis’

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has written to betting leadership urging the industry to maintain the highest operating standards during ‘uncertain and unsettling times’.

Updating stakeholders, McArthur explained that the UKGC’s executive team is carrying out an assessment of the industry-wide impact of the coronavirus, which will influence the Commission’s regulatory approach during 2020.  

McArthur emphasised that ‘consumer protections must be paramount’, as the UK obeys isolation and social distancing measures to combat its ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.   

 “We expect you to act responsibly, especially around individual customer affordability checks and increased social responsibility interactions,” McArthur warned operators. 

“If we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately. So, whilst I know that the current climate is unprecedented, gambling operators must play their part in making sure that people are kept safe.”

The Commission stated that it will continue to scrutinise operator engagement with players, making sure that licensees carry out their full KYC and compliance duties with regards to customer referencing and onboarding procedures. 

McArthur also underlined that ‘marketing must be conducted in a responsible manner’, with operators abiding by UK advertising codes and monitoring the behaviour of their advertising channels (affiliates, media buys, and partnerships).  

He continued: “You must not exploit the current situation for marketing purposes and should be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell online gaming products to customers who signed up with you in order to bet.”

Despite facing numerous business disruptions, the UKGC maintained that all operators must continue to work within their licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

It reiterated that it expects operators to work in a ‘co-operative way and act in accordance with both the letter or the spirit of the regulatory framework we have set’.

Closing his statement, McArthur invited operators and stakeholders to submit feedback on the impact of COVID-19 to Programme Director Ben Haden to help its own industry assessment.

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