Gambling Commission urges online operators to improve consumer protection

Gambling Commission urges online operators to improve consumer protection

Thursday, November 24, 2016 Posted by Luke Massey
New figures show online gambling is largest gambling sector in Britain

Online operators have been warned by the Gambling Commission to up their game in terms of consumer protection after it emerged that the online sector was the biggest element of the UK gambling environment.

Figures just released by the regulator show online gambling accounts for 33% of all gambling in Britain, with statistics showing that between April 2015 and March 2016 the online gambling operators generated a Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of £4.5bn. Over the same period £3.4bn was generated by the National Lottery, £3.3bn by the high street betting sector, and £1bn by traditional casinos.

Programme director James Green said: “Our latest statistics show that with the growth in online gambling the industry is increasingly taking a creative approach to using technology to engage consumers. As the online sector grows, operators will also need to demonstrate that they are taking an equally innovative approach to ensuring gambling is safe for all online consumers.”

Of the £4.5bn generated online, £2.6bn came from casino games, £1.6bn from betting, £152m from betting exchanges, £153m from bingo and £26m from pool betting. Online slot machine style games alone generated £1.8bn.

The UK gambling industry generated a GGY of £13.6bn between April 2015 and March 2016

Despite the growth in many areas, there was also a message of decline in the Commission’s figures. There were 8,709 betting shops in Britain as of September 2016, which represents a 1.8% decrease from March 2015 and the total number of gaming machines in the country was also down, albeit more slightly, at 0.4% to 167,839.

According to the Commission’s figures, the number of bingo premises fell 4.3% to 575 and the number of people employed by the industry also dropped 1.5% to 104,896. The figures also showed that the number of B2 Gaming Machines, better known as FOBTs, fell 0.9% to 34,884 in the 12 months to March 2016.

There was good news for ‘good causes’ though as the amount raised by both the National Lottery and society lotteries received a boost. Between April 2015 and March 2016, the National Lottery contributed £1.8billion to good causes, representing a 7.2% increase on the previous year while a total of £208m was raised for good causes through large society lotteries, representing a 10.5% increase on the previous year.

Totally Gaming says: It seems ridiculous to think that the largest part of the UK’s gambling industry fell outside of the direct remit of its regulator until relatively recently, but the Gambling Commission’s recent push on consumer protection means that online operators must up their game, especially if the sector’s social responsibility figures are to improve.

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