When you gamble, the company you place your wagers with must be safe. The last thing you need is to find yourself laid open to fraud and your details accessed by others. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) plays a key role in protecting players from such nightmares.
The UKGC has a busy job as it does not just cover sportsbooks and online casinos. It also deals with many other areas of the gambling business, including the lottery and brick-and-mortar casinos, like the one in the main photo. Duties include covering responsible gambling and how gambling is portrayed in the world of advertising.
It’s 14 years since the UKGC was founded. The ways in which we gamble have changed a great deal since then. Online gambling has grown significantly, with new sites opening regularly.
Licensing companies and then regulating them is a key part of their work. If you go to a site such as the STS casino, you will see in the footer of the website that they are licensed and regulated by the UKGC.
This is important to see on a site. To receive that licence, companies have to undergo strict tests. The UKGC does not just give them to any company that comes along wanting one. Once that licence has been granted, it will keep a close eye on the holder.
If any problems occur, then the UKGC will investigate them. Again, this is crucial as it means those who they license have someone to answer to. Getting a licence in the first place is great news; having it taken away is something you never want to see.
The UKGC website has a list of companies and individuals against whom regulatory action has been taken. Netbet, GAN and BGO Entertainment found themselves being warned last year regarding social responsibility and failure to effectively implement their responsible gambling program.
Recently EU Lotto was fined by the UKGC. It runs the Lottoland site and had failed to meet the strict compliance rules that are put in place by the UKGC. Social responsibility and money laundering failures led to EU Lotto being fined £760,000.
The UKGC carries out a great deal of work on responsible gambling. Their website has an in-depth section that looks at this matter. They aim to do as much as they can to protect gamblers.
This includes sections such as how to stay safe when gambling. Other areas include how to deal with all those gambling advertisements that keep cropping up on Twitter and Facebook. There’s information about how you can spot a possible gambling problem and links to groups that offer support to problem gamblers.
Any miss-step and a gambling company will find itself in trouble. In March this year, Casumo was fined £6 million after the UKGC uncovered social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings.
If you need to make a gambling-related problem, then their site is the place to go. They have a section that tells you how to make a complaint about a gambling company, an advertisement you’ve seen or the National Lottery (more about that later in this article).
There are plenty of areas in which the UKGC can help people. It could be about a situation where a gambling company refuses to pay out your winnings. Then again, it could be a dispute about problems that have caused your account to be closed or frustration at continually receiving texts or emails from a gambling company.
In 2005, a Gambling Act was passed in Parliament. Gambling has changed a great deal since then, of course. A review is being carried out into that Act, with the government looking to make several changes. The UKGC is playing a key role in supplying them with information about how the Act can be improved.
Cutting the links between gambling companies and sports teams is one possible suggestion. Another is reducing further the number of gambling-related advertisements that are seen and heard in the media.
A key job in the past year or so has been in dealing with the pandemic. The UKGC ensured that gambling companies didn’t take too much advantage of the situation and regularly released reports about the levels of gambling.
Do you play the lottery? Well, that’s another area in which the UKGC works. It has the responsibility of deciding who will be given the next ten-year licence to run the National Lottery. Those applying have to make applications to the UKGC that are thoroughly checked before a decision is made the next year.
You can see, therefore, that the UKGC does a great deal to protect players. Without them, gambling could be less safe.