UK Gambling Commission Offers Consumer Advice During Lockdown

  • Guidance for gambling consumers comes as UK enters its sixth week of lockdown
  • UKGC gives top tips on staying safe online, including setting social media ad restrictions
  • Advises players to set payment limits on gambling sites, highlights self-exclusion option
  • Encourages public to verify that operators are licensed and compliant with UKGC requirements
  • Urges users to play at sites that provide full access to T&Cs, personal gambling history

 

red gambling dice with the words safe and risky printed on one face
The UKGC is offering consumers advice on how to gamble safely online during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Guidance for safer online gambling

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), alongside its social media partner Twitter, has offered new advice to consumers who may be struggling with gambling habits during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The guidance issued covers online gambling measures that can limit spending, information on self-exclusion, and links to relevant charities. It comes as the UK enters its sixth week of lockdown, with more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths recorded to date.

Gross gambling yield in Great Britain for 2014 was worth a record £14.4bn ($18bn). With casinos now closed, the commission recently called on gaming operators to advertise responsibly in light of the current climate.

User control over social media ad visibility

Earlier this year, the UKGC partnered with a social network for the first time. It is currently working with Twitter to give platform users greater control over what advertising messages they can see. Advertising is a current hot issue in gambling, although some operators have now vowed not to advertise at all during lockdown.

greater control over what advertising messages they can see

The commission isn’t just offering guidance on adjusting safety tools and settings for social media, though. It also highlights control settings on gambling websites which allow players to set payment limits, so they don’t spend more than they can afford. If needed, consumers can also self-exclude from gambling altogether.

The UK’s self-exclusion scheme is called GAMSTOP. By registering with the scheme, a user’s details will be recorded across all gambling sites. This universal system means a player will not have to self-exclude from individual operators’ sites, which was previously the case before 2018.

Customers urged to verify license compliance

One thing the UKGC highlights that consumers may not know is that gambling companies need to be registered with the commission to allow UK customers to play. Any operators that do not comply with the requirement are acting illegally, and may not be following important safety checks and regulations imposed by the commission.

Customers are prompted to check the Gambling Commission License Register to verify that operators are compliant. They can also see whether the company in question has been hit with any fines or stipulations and why.

Access to T&Cs, personal information

Finally, the advice published on the Gambling Commission’s website highlights that customers must be allowed access to all terms and conditions of a gambling site. This includes having visibility of what happens to their personal information, as well as readily available bonus stipulations and payout conditions.

users should have full rights to their gambling history

This also means users should have full rights to their gambling history, and they can report an operator if it fails to disclose their previous bets. Individuals can therefore make a decision as to whether they are gambling safely or not.

For those who need additional help, the UKGC has recommended that customers ring the National Gambling Helpline in the first instance. The service can offer advice and support for problem gamblers in the UK.