UK Gambling Commission Updates Guidance for Operators, Reports Online Revenue


The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) wants to provide greater stability and uniformity with regard to how gaming operators present their terms and conditions. Accordingly, it has created new guidance to enhance fairness and transparency in the industry.

Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben keeps its watchful eye over London. At the same time, the UKGC keeps its eye on the gambling industry, introducing new rules for operators to follow. (Image: Getty Images)

It’s an established fact that some companies like to slip confusing or otherwise “quirky” language into their online terms and conditions. The hope is that consumers will either not pay attention, or be just confused enough to not question the terms’ definitions.

UKGC Wants Standard T&C

The UKGC hopes that new guidance will prevent gaming operators from being able to take advantage of the “nobody reads the terms and conditions” mentality. Just because a consumer simply clicks through the acceptance of a site’s T&C doesn’t mean the operator will be off the hook.

Citing the use of terminology that allows licensees to confiscate unstaked deposits or reduce potential winnings on open bets, the regulator published updated guidelines on its website that all operators must follow. In order to create fairness, the UKGC wants operators to use language that is “intelligible” and “transparent.”

Operators must comply with consumer protection laws and treat customers in a fair, open, and transparent way. This extends to operators’ terms and conditions and practices,” states the UKGC in its updated terms and conditions guidance.

In addition, operators can no longer include certain conditions only in the T&C section of the website. They will need to prominently display the information beforehand. Promotional banners have to include direct access to the T&C as well. They cannot lead directly to a sign-up page.

The updated guidance will be difficult to enforce for the same reasons the UKGC has introduced it. Because “literacy levels vary significantly,” there will be certain amount of friction over the interpretation of T&C language. However, the UKGC wants to ensure that all operators conform with consumer protection laws and the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).

Online Gaming Increases as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease

The UKGC also provided an update on the state of online gaming in the country. The latest data covers the third quarter of the fiscal year, as well as some corrections to previously released information.

Online total gross gaming yield (GGY) for the quarter reached £1.2 billion (US$1.63 billion). This came following the addition of £421 million (US$573.61 million) in December. Compared to the second quarter, the third-quarter results were a drop of 6%.

There were a few increases in spite of the decline in GGY. Yield from online slot play added 1% and closed at £568 million (US$773.9 million). This came as the number of overall spins saw a 3% uptick to 18.2 billion. In addition, the UKGC indicated that the number of active slot players saw a 5% increase in the quarter, closing at 9.8 million.

Apart from the increased number of spins, the amount of time gamblers sat in front of virtual slot machines increased as well. The number of sessions lasting more than an hour increased by 8% to just over 8.1 million. On average, gamblers spent 19 minutes playing the slots, with only 7% of all sessions lasting more than an hour.

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