SBC News Sarah Gardner: UKGC to place spotlight on White Label management

Sarah Gardner: UKGC to place spotlight on White Label management

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will initiate “two major projects to bolster the responsibilities of licensees in relation to third parties and white label arrangements” according to Deputy CEO Sarah Gardner during her address to the KPMG Gibraltar eSummit on 15 June 2023. 

The projects form part of the Commission’s working mandate to put into practice the recommendations of the Gambling Act Review, in the face of increasing regulatory enforcement actions.

“We will shortly publish two items that we committed to deliver in our advice to Government, reinforcing licensees’ responsibilities regarding third parties and white label arrangements,” Gardner told KPMG delegates.  

“These items, a vulnerability statement and guidance on customer interactions, are part of the Commission’s commitment to openness and active engagement with all stakeholders.”

As stands, the Commission maintains its 2023 agenda, in which it is set to publish the first round of Gambling Act Review-related consultations next month – setting in motion the generational reform of UK Gambling laws for a new era.  

Work is steadfast in maintaining momentum in delivering its commitments, in line with the expectations stipulated in the White Paper as Gardner disclosed.

“This summer we intend to consult on proposals relating to age verification in premises, removing features which increase intensity of play on non-slots casino games online, cross-selling, and financial risk and vulnerability checks.” 

She welcomed operators, trade bodies, consumers, and those with lived experiences to contribute to these consultations.

However, Gardner also raised concerns about the rise in regulatory violations. She cited a significant increase in enforcement cases; in the 2022/23 financial year, operators paid over £60m due to regulatory failures, compared to just £1.7m in the 2016/17 financial year.

“Three serious recent cases involved customers spending substantial sums in short time frames without proper checks,” she said. “Although encouraging signs of operator innovation and compliance-based competition have emerged, these issues underscore the need for reinforced responsibilities.”

As Deputy leader, she emphasised the necessity of taking the time to properly conduct consultations and create structured implementation timelines. “Less haste and more speed will be our approach,” affirmed Gardner.

Implementation of the new regulations, which cover over 60 areas of work, is expected to span several years, especially considering the need to assess the impact of any changes. Despite this, the Commission is determined to maintain rapid progress, with the second round of consultations scheduled for the autumn.

In her address, Gardner noted that the implementation of the Gambling Act Review will take several years, especially considering the need to evaluate the impact of changes in which the “process requires careful planning and resource prioritisation”.

As such, she underscored the vital role of industry collaboration in achieving the regulatory objectives,  in which she cited GamProtect, a multi-operator risk-sharing solution, as an example of positive collaboration outcomes and affirmed the Commission’s intention to continue employing such strategies.

The UKGC is also working on improving the data, research, and evidence around gambling. “We’ve held conferences, published updates on our Participation and Prevalence statistics, and identified evidence gaps we intend to fill in the next three years,” shared Gardner.

She concluded: “The next few years represent a real opportunity for all parties to make a decisive difference towards gambling in Great Britain being safer, fairer, and crime-free.”

Gardner invited all stakeholders to join the Commission’s efforts, aiming to foster a better-regulated, more responsible gambling environment in the UK.

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