Gambling firms told to improve support for at-risk customers

Gambling companies have been urged to do more. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Gambling companies have been urged to do more. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Gambling businesses need to improve the support they offer consumers who are at risk of harm and do more to guard against money laundering, according to the UK-wide regulator.

The Gambling Commission have launched their ‘Raising Standards for Consumers Report’ which provides an overview of the enforcement work they have carried out in the last year and sets out future lessons for operators.

In the last 12 months the Commission has carried out more than 160 investigations that has resulted in a variety of sanctions against operators and their senior management.

Operators have also paid £19.6 million in penalty packages because they failed to follow Commission rules aimed at making gambling fairer, safer and free from crime.

The Gambling Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur said: “I want gambling consumers in Britain to be able to enjoy the fairest and safest gambling in the world and I want gambling operators to work with us to put customer enjoyment and safety at the top of their corporate agenda.

“As the report shows, we will be tough when we find operators bending the rules or failing to meet our expectations, but we also want to try and minimise the need for such action by providing advice, a programme of support material and compliance activity to help operators get things right in the first place.”

The latest report comes after the Commission launched its new strategy to reduce gambling harm in Scotland last week, with a shift in emphasis away from the customer towards the industry taking greater responsibility.

Around two million adults in the UK are at risk or classed as problem gamblers.

A spokesperson for the bookmakers William Hill, said: “Along with other leading operators in the sector William Hill has significantly advanced its approach to safer gambling in recent years expanding the range of tools available to customers, significantly increasing the number of customers using deposit limits, using algorithmic data to track at risk play and to intervene with customers where their gambling is showing potential risk.

We continue to invest in technology and to collaborate with charities, academics and competitors to improve our understanding of at risk gambling and how best to prevent it and will continue to evolve our approach.”