UK Minister for Digital Economy gives speech at GambleAware Conference

Posted: Dec 09, 2021 17:06 Category: Europe , Regulatory , Responsible Gaming , Posted by Kyle

Chris Philp, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, used his speech at the conference to outline the UK’s efforts to ensure that online gambling is a safe but healthy part of the growing digital economy

In a panel titled “Collaboration in the Prevention of Gambling Harm”, Philp elaborated on his main two goals as Minister: making the Kingdom the “safest place in the world to go online, setting the global standard for internet safety” and giving the Gambling Act a “ comprehensive review” to ensure that it is up-to-date for the modern, digital age.

Having met a broad range of stakeholders within the industry as well as many practitioners who specialise in helping patients with addictive disorders, Philp explained that gambling-related harm was a public health issue that required the presence of regulations. “It’s our duty in government and more widely to prevent people from being led down a path to a dark destination.”

mps respond to brexit resignations
Appointed Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy in September, Philp will be a leading figure in any overhaul of English Gambling Regulation. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images.

The review of the Gambling Act seeks to tackle a broad range of issues with the official call for evidence receiving 16,000 submissions. Philp also stated that a White Paper would be published in the following months.

Elaborating on the measures that would be taken to avoid enabling compulsive or dangerous gambling, the demanding of payslips or bank statements from customers going beyond £100 pounds may be perceived as intrusive but is more than warranted beyond a certain point. Another more acceptable form of regulation would be a novel approach using cutting edge technology and data metrics. Philp points towards the creation of a system similar to that used by more modern credit reference agencies. This would be a smoother form of compliance even if higher levels of gambling would require more intrusive checks. He also stated that “checks based on spend and financial circumstances must supplement rather than supersede all the existing requirements on operators to monitor play data, identify risk and intervene accordingly.”

To this end, he indicated that the success of GAMSTOP, a multi-operator online self-exclusion scheme, is a good sign of the road that should be taken. As a single individual can have several accounts with several different operators, there is a genuine need for a single customer view (SCV) that protects the person rather than any single account.

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GAMSTOP spearheads the initiative for customer-focused regulation

On the issue of data protection, Philp elaborated that any data sharing would be done according to stringent protocols ensuring that the data is safe, secure and that the amount of data taken is proportional to the situation. In this, the Gambling Commission will be supported by the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure that the SCV will be carried out with the values of data protection close at heart. Referring to the data sharing systems currently used by the financial sector as a benchmark, Philp called on the stakeholders in the audience to work hand-in-hand with regulators to create a system that helps create and maintain a high standard of customer protection.

Concluding with an elaboration on the role of the main regulator, Philp noted that the role of the Gambling Commission will be instrumental for any attempt at making the UK Gambling market a safer economic ecosystem. Working closely with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Commission, he promises that the review of the Gambing Act will be as thorough as necessary. Referring to their success in banning gambling with credit cards, stricter compliance for age regulations and the Commission’s actions during COVID, Philp noted that the regulator will be a cornerstone of the industry’s future.

SiGMA Asia 2022

After the exciting set of conferences that was Malta Week 2021, the SiGMA Group plans to take the world by storm with the golden steeples of Kiev and the snowy city of Toronto being hubs to draw the best and brightest of the iGaming world together. Our next expo takes us to cutting-edge metropoli of the United Arab Emirates for three days of networking, panel discussions and festivities. Stay up to date with the latest and greatest through SiGMA News.

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