Monday, March 13, 2006
UK publishes gambling licensing conditions

The UK Gambling Commission published draft rules on gambling, advertising and licensing, which implement the 2005 Gambling Act. The Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice sets out a raft of provisions, including new rules designed to combat problem gambling.

The Gambling Commission’s press release describes the key points as follows:

  • All gambling operators must have published policies and procedures for promoting socially responsible gambling.
  • Information about responsible gambling and help available to problem gamblers must be prominently displayed wherever gambling takes place. Online operators must make this information accessible on their home and login pages.
  • Operators must exclude people in cases where there are clear signs of problem gambling.
  • Online operators must make sure that customers are aware of how much time and money they have spent on their sites.
  • Operators must follow strict procedures to prevent underage gambling, including age checks on anyone who appears to be under 21. Online operators must carry out random credit card checks, and filtering software must be made available to allow adults to block access by children and young people.
  • Key staff such as managing and finance directors must be licensed by the Commission.
  • The rules of games, odds, house edge and average return to the player must all be clearly displayed, and operators must have well-publicised complaints procedures which include an external, independent element.

    The entire policy is based to a high extend on self-regulation. Whether other governments find this agreeable when UK licensed betting websites offer their betting services to their citizen is highly unlikely.

    The Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice are being published for consultation, with responses due by 2 June 2006. The new conditions and codes will apply from September 2007, when the Gambling Act 2005 comes fully into force,