Gambling Commission urges operators to be responsible during new coronavirus lockdown

The UK Gambling Commission has once again urged licensees to operate responsibly as England enters a national lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Gambling Commission has urged its licensees to continue to operate responsibly as England enters a second lockdown due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths.

In its call for operators to act responsibly, the UK regulator highlighted the potential for an increase in problem gambling behaviour among customers due to the restrictions.

Yesterday, England entered a four-week lockdown which is expected to end on 2 December. As part of the lockdown land-based casinos, betting shops, and bingo halls have been forced to temporarily close, along with non-essential shops and other leisure businesses.

Commission urges operators to act responsibly

With the closure of gambling venues, the Commission expects to see a greater number of customers gamble online.

The Commission has therefore called on gambling operators to “play their part” during the lockdown and ensure they protect customers from gambling-related harms.

Today’s message from the regulator mirrors a similar message that was circulated during the first nationwide UK coronavirus lockdown earlier this year. The Commission urged operators to step up work on customer interaction, affordability checks, stop reverse withdrawals and limit bonus offers.

Online gambling operators have also been urged to ensure that advertising and marketing material is responsible and that new gamblers are on-boarded in a responsible manner. The regulator also said that operators should act in a way that treats customers fairly and limits the risk to the licensing objectives.

Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: “The gambling industry and daily life as a whole continues to be impacted by Covid-19 and during this time I want to ensure operators are both supported and aware of the expectations I have outlined above.

“We continue to be in touch with government and our colleagues at DCMS and I will provide further updates when required.”

BGC members reaffirm 10-point action plan

The Gambling commission’s call to operators comes as the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) announced its members have reaffirmed their 10-pledge Covid action plan to protect staff and customers.

The BGC’s action plan, which outlines the standards expected of BGC members, was initially introduced in March as the UK entered a national lockdown. 

BGC members have again signed up to the 10-point action plan which includes an increase in safer gambling messaging, the promotion of deposit limits and welfare checks for staff members.

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