Home » UK Gambling Commission Introduces Stricter Regulations

UK Gambling Commission Introduces Stricter Regulations

New checks will focus on players who might be spending more than their annual or monthly salaries on gambling.

May 5, 2024 • 06:04 ET

• 4 min read

The UK Gambling Commission has announced new rules designed to safeguard players. 

The rules, which are to be introduced from Aug. 30, include a number of checks which aim to reduce problem gambling across the UK. 

Extra checks for those losing over £500 per month

Financial vulnerability checks will come into force this summer, in order to protect vulnerable players who might continue to gamble past the point of affordability. 

New checks will focus on players who might be spending more than their annual or monthly salaries on gambling, or spending excessive amounts of money in a short period of time. 

Players depositing more than £500 a month into online casino accounts will face light touch financial vulnerability checks from Aug. 30 this year. The threshold for such checks is then set to reduce to £150 per month from Feb. 28, 2025. Consumer credit ratings will not be impacted by these measures. 

Further preventative measures are to come in the form of a pilot scheme, which will assess the risk of financial harm that could be caused by online gambling. 

The pilot scheme will analyze data gathered from both online gambling companies and credit reference agencies, to allow a more in-depth understanding of how and why consumers are falling victim to problem gambling. 

Misleading marketing in the spotlight 

The Gambling Commission has introduced new restrictions on how gambling companies can present themselves, particularly when it comes to advertising different game features online. 

Features such as “turbo” and “slam stops” are to be banned, as are autoplay features and any sounds or visuals that celebrate wins that are less than or equal to the player’s initial stake. Features like these have been banned on a voluntary basis by some companies since 2021, but the new regulations will see such features removed across the board. 

Age verification rules for land-based casinos 

The regulator’s new rules don’t just apply to online gambling companies. Land-based casinos, too, will face further restrictions. 

New age verification rules will require venues to check the ID of any players who look under 25, rather than the current 21. Land-based licensees will also have to carry out age verification test purchasing, under the new legislation. Licensing changes will be introduced from Aug. 30. 

Voluntary customer checks 

A new voluntary Code on Customer Checks establishes set guidelines on how operators should react should players make net deposits of more than £5,000 per month (which is halved to £2,500 for younger players aged between 18-24), or £25,000 per year. 

The code will require operators to carry out vulnerability assessments on any players meeting these thresholds. Companies will need to conduct questionnaires, request deposit limits and send activity statements to these players for maximum transparency on their spending.

If players are deemed vulnerable, gambling companies may be required to gather further information through telephone and live chat interactions. 

Players depositing more than £5,000 per month are to be subject to income or wealth checks as part of new risk assessments. Risk assessments will also be carried out on any players who deposit more than £25,000 annually. We can expect these assessments to include document requests, such as Enhanced Due Diligence. 

Any players identified as at risk of financial harm through the above checks and interactions should have intervention measures swiftly implemented. 

Look out for new measures from August 

Many of the new measures are to come into force this August, but some will be introduced later to give companies sufficient time to prepare. The rules will move through four stages, before all are implemented by the end of February 2025. 

These changes have been expected for some time now, following the publication of a white paper on gambling reform last year. 

The 2023 white paper included proposals of affordability checks and spending limits, along with a mandatory levy, with funds to be used to finance new treatment programs for gambling addiction and better research and education on problem gambling. 

While some of the proposals made in the initial white paper have been relaxed somewhat, many of the proposed ideas, such as the affordability checks and slot machine limits, are now being brought in by the regulator.

Pages related to this topic