Find Out How the GC Cracked Down on Casinos During Lockdown

No, I’m not talking about the lady from “The Only Way is Essex”. I’m talking about the Gambling Commission (The GC). They went into overdrive during lockdown to make sure that the online casinos weren’t exploiting vulnerable people; some people gambled as a way to manage their anxiety. And, there were a lot of people to exploit because the online casinos boasted record profits.

As the threat of you-know-what disappears, the online casino industry is bracing for losses. The vaccine breakthrough saw online casino shares plummet earlier this week. However, even though people will be less likely to visit the online casinos once lockdowns are over, The GC will keep in place the protections it implemented over the last few months.

But what were these changes? Let’s have a look at how The GC cracked down on online casinos since March 2020:

An End to Irresponsible VIP Schemes

Online casinos are possibly one of the only places in the world where you can be poor and still make it onto the VIP list. Before the crackdown, these schemes were really just a way to tempt gamblers to spend more money. It had nothing to do with the gambler being genuinely important or giving them something worthwhile in return for their loyalty.

Online casinos now have to follow strict rules of conduct, making sure that the ‘VIP’ only spends money from their disposable income, that they don’t show a vulnerability towards gambling addiction, and that the casino makes regular checks to ensure the person’s circumstances haven’t changed.

The GC Says “NO!” to Credit Card Payments

If you play with a UK-based online casino, you can’t make credit card deposits. Any UK-based casinos that let you do this are operating illegally, and you shouldn’t use them anyway because who knows what else they’ll be doing that’s dodgy?

The idea behind banning credit card deposits – and not debit card or bank transfers – is that as many as 22% of problem gamblers use credit cards, and credit card use tends to increase the amount of money they lose. Plus, the money that they do lose becomes a debt, as opposed to being part of their disposable income, which is more likely when using a debit card.

If Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Gambling!

20+ years ago, the UK cracked down on ID for drinking in pubs and clubs. Now it’s time that for the online casinos to do the same. And they’re not allowed to pay lipservice to it. Instead, they have to make proper checks, getting proof of your age from formal ID, such as driving licences and passports. If you don’t have ID, you can’t play.

And it’s not just a matter of borrowing your mate’s old licence. The casinos are going to ask for proof of age every few months or so.

Better Customer Services!

So the above rules might not sound great to some of you. It can feel a bit nanny-state like, “It’s for your own good, there there” *the GC pats your head. But THIS rule works for all of us, whether we think we have a gambling problem or not.

The GC is forcing the online casinos to put better customer interaction at the forefront of the casino experience. This will involve a variety of initiatives, ranging from such things as making sure punters know how their money is protected if the casino goes bust, to ensuring the casino answers any queries in a reasonable timeframe.

The GC is Committed to Ongoing Research to Keep You Safe

Finally, the GC recently published it’s first, “National Strategic Assessment“. This is their research into the UK’s gambling industry and the risks it poses to gamblers. They examine the issues from all angles: the gambler, the places they gamble, the games they play, and the establishments that provide these games.

It’s probably one of the most comprehensive reports into the gambling industry anywhere in the world and it’s going to shape future gambling policy.

What The GC Has to Say About All These Initiatives:

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes.”

– Neil McArthur, chief executive.

Takeaway

If you live in the UK and you’re a gambler, you’re in a pretty good place. We are extremely well protected and it’s becoming harder to get into financial trouble through gambling. And if you do, there’s plenty of help available too.

All in all, it’s good news for us.

 

Picture of an umberlla with dollar signs raining on it