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UKGC: New rules to make online gambling in Britain fairer and safer

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UKGC: New rules to make online gambling in Britain fairer and safer
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The UK Gambling Commission has announced new rules which online operators must follow to make gambling safer and fairer.

The new rules, which follow an open consultation, will ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details faster which will benefit consumers.

Safer for children

Until now, online gambling businesses have been allowed 72 hours to carry out age verification checks. The operator cannot permit customers to withdraw winnings until age verification has been completed and must return stakes if the person is found to be underage.

But to guard against the risk of children gambling, new rules mean operators must verify customer age before the customer can:

  • deposit funds into an account
  • gamble with the licensee with either their own money or a free bet or bonus.

In addition, the Commission is now also insisting that customers must be age verified before they are able to access free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites. While free-to-play games are not technically gambling (there is no prize involved), there is no legitimate reason why they should be available to children.

Fairer and safer

In March 2018 the Commission announced that some online operators were treating customers unfairly by requesting additional identity information when the customer attempted to withdraw winnings. Around 15% of complaints to its contact centre were about licensees not allowing a customer to withdraw funds until they submit certain forms of ID.

The new rules require remote licensees to:

  • verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble
  • ask for any additional verification information promptly
  • inform customers, before they can deposit funds, of the types of identity documents or other information that might be required, the circumstances in which the information might be required, and how it should be supplied to the licensee
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers’ identities remains accurate.

The changes will help operators better prevent harm or detect criminal activity because they have more information about their customers. In addition, the changes will mean that operators cannot demand that customers submit ID as a condition of cashing out, if they could have asked for that information earlier.

However, these measures won’t relate to online gambling sites with no verification that have integrated Pay N’ Play platform, as they use Bank ID instead of many documents.

Finally, the changes will increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded. This applies equally to the operator’s own self-exclusion schemes and the online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, Gamstop. This is because effective verification by operators will mean that a customer will not be verified, and therefore unable to gamble, until they provide correct details. These details will then be checked against both the operator’s own self-exclusion database and the verified data held by Gamstop.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling.  They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.’’

“Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest. Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector.  We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after. They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online. By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling- related harm.”

The new rules come into force on 7 May.

The Gambling Commission will shortly be launching a consultation on plans to make explicit our expectations about how to interact with a customer who may be experiencing gambling-related harm and will be calling for evidence on the use of gambling blocking software.

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Industry News

Apex Live Gaming Launches ChipperX

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Apex Live Gaming has launched a new device named “ChipperX” for the casinos.

Designed and manufactured by Apex, ChipperX is a dedicated chip management device. It automatically sorts chips by value or colour into one of 12 designated chip tracks. Each chip track is configured to sort and store a defined number of chip types.

“Apex Live Gaming is made up of people who understand and have experience working in land-based casinos. That’s why we make equipment that helps casino staff do their jobs faster, better, more comfortably and easier,” the company said.

ChipperX has the computing power to quickly and accurately count, sort and distribute up to 500 chips per minute. It produces game statistics with a minute-by-minute display stored in the device’s memory for one year.

Easy operation is guaranteed by remote control and diagnostics. Through remote access to ChipperX settings and management, Apex’s team of technicians can help customers control the device remotely in real time. This reduces operating costs and service time.

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Industry News

Paul Mallon Steps Down as Head of Brand Marketing at Paddy Power

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Paul Mallon has stepped down as the head of brand marketing at Paddy Power.

The ad executive spent ten years at the Flutter-owned operator. Mallon began at Paddy Power as a football writer following a time as a journalist at the Irish Daily Star.

He leaves Paddy Power to become head of special ops at the London-based advertising agency Lucky Generals, which was Paddy Power’s creative agency before Flutter’s reorganisation with its The Stars Group merger.

Mallon wrote on LinkedIn: “After an incredibly good time and 10 years at the sublime Paddy Power, I’ve transferred to the mighty Lucky Generals (with huge thanks to the colleagues, agencies and customers who made working for PP such a pleasure).”

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Industry News

EGT and Mascot Join Forces on Distribution Agreement

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EGT has joined forces with casino equipment provider Mascot on a new distribution agreement. Through the agreement, MASCOT has become the tech company’s new official distributor for France.

The two enterprises shook hands on their future endeavours last month, with plans to immediately introduce the new General series and progressive Jackpots to the French market.

Mascot is founded in 2009 and has been successfully restructuring the company in the past few years, now adopting the highest standards in the sector and motivated to bring new brands to its clients.

“We at EGT are always excited to join forces with reliable partners and cover new ground,” Nadya Popova, EGT’s Sales and Marketing Vice President, said.

“We are thrilled to work with EGT and are preparing many surprises for our clients immediately. We thank EGT for their trust,” François Bourlier, Sales Manager at Mascot, said.

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