The review’s objectives sought to balance consumer freedoms and choice with the prevention of harm to vulnerable groups and the broader community.
Here we present an overview of the key proposals presented in the White Paper:
1.1. A financial vulnerability check when a player incurs a net loss of £125 within a rolling month or £500 within a rolling year;
1.2. An enhanced spending check when a player loses more than £1,000 in a rolling 24-hour period, without interrupting the customer journey unless concerns arise; and
1.3. Enhanced spending checks when a player loses more than £2,000 in any rolling 90-day period, with lower thresholds for those aged 18 to 24 (£500 net loss in 24 hours or £1,000 in 90 days).
As the relationship between an operator and a customer evolves, more detailed checks will be necessary.
Checks will involve more extensive interactions and information gathering to ensure that customers’ gambling habits do not lead to financial harm.
Changes to customer affordability assessments will be implemented through existing regulation via a Commission consultation later this year.
Thereafter, the LCCP will be updated to incorporate the corresponding changes.
2. Stake Limits
2.1. Distinction between stake limits on gaming machines in betting shops and casinos and the unlimited stakes on online slots to be eliminated.
2.2. Standardised online slot game stake limits of between £2 and £15 per spin, subject to further specific consultation. A small number of customers could stake more after passing specific regulatory checks, but with a maximum stake limit in place.
2.3. Online slots games to be considered the highest risk products.
These changes are expected to be implemented through secondary legislation and will only apply to slots games.
3. Free Bets
3.1. Review to be completed on promotions and incentives, including ‘free bets’, with changes to the LCCP after further consultation.
3.2. Changes likely be implemented later this year.
4.1. The current leading Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider, IBAS, only handles contractual disputes.
4.2. Non-statutory Ombudsman to be established to handle disputes and determine customer compensation.
The government has urged the industry to establish the Ombudsman collectively. If the government is unsatisfied with the industry’s solution, a statutory ombudsman may be introduced.
5. Mandatory Levy
5.1. Mandatory levy to support research, education, and treatment of problem gambling.
6.1. No change.
The Premier League recently announced that clubs would remove gambling logos from the front of shirts starting from the 2025/26 season. Advertising on shirt sleeves will continue.
The white-label model, allowing foreign operators without a British gambling license to promote their brands within British football not mentioned, so the impact on offshore operators advertising within British football remains minimal.
7. Data sharing
7.1. Information Commissioner’s Office to oversee an industry developed a data-sharing mechanism for high-risk customers.
7.2. Data sharing likely to be made mandatory through additional license conditions.
8. Public health messaging
8.1. The Commission may require the industry to publish stronger public health messages, with a government working group exploring presentation options.
9. Black market
9.1. Commission’s enforcement tools will be strengthened to address the black market and prevent offshore supply.
10. Game design
10.1. The industry must make games “safer by design,” building on existing Responsible Game Design work.
11. Levelling the playing field
11.1. Relaxed regulations for land-based casinos, allowing up to 80 gaming machines instead of the current 20.
12. Developing the land-based market
12.1. Casinos to be permitted to offer credit to non-UK residents, subject to financial risk and anti-money laundering checks.
The government plans to explore changes to gaming machine restrictions, betting facilities, and electronic terminal game offerings in casinos.
13. Next Steps
The White Paper outlines an implementation timeline, with the main measures to be in force by summer 2024.
The changes will primarily be implemented through secondary legislation and Gambling Commission powers.
Key next steps include consultations on affordability checks, socially responsible use of free bets and bonuses, online slots stake limits, and the statutory levy.
The process for appointing the non-statutory ombudsman is expected to begin in spring/summer 2023, with complaint handling anticipated within a year.
The Commission has suggested that over 60 compliance/regulatory initiatives will be introduced in the next three years.
The White Paper can be accessed here.