Gambling Law

UK's Largest Operators Criticize UKGC as a Regulatory Authority

When you also consider the positive outlook for the country’s iGaming market, it is easy to see what a major player Great Britain is in the industry.

UK's Largest Operators Criticize UKGC as a Regulatory Authority
UK's Largest Operators Criticize UKGC as a Regulatory Authority

Whilst online casino gaming is huge in many countries around the world, the UK remains one of the biggest markets around. This can be seen in the size of the UK online gambling sector in 2022, which is estimated to have reached $7.8 billion. When you also consider the positive outlook for the country’s iGaming market, it is easy to see what a major player Great Britain is in the industry.

Although there are many reasons for the health of UK iGaming, strict regulation has helped make it a safe place to game online. Due to this, people all across the country can play classics like roulette in a safe, controlled environment. 

Further evidence of this can be seen in comments from Giuseppe Faraone, of highly regarded casino review platform, who noted that “The comprehensive regulatory framework around UK iGaming is critical to its status as one of the top markets for online casino play globally.” 

It is, therefore, something of a surprise to learn that some of the biggest operators in the UK have lined up to call the UK Gambling Commission into question. As the country’s leading online gaming regulator, the UKGC has long been seen as a top body in iGaming.

More work needed to reform UKGC

The main thrust of the concerns raised, centered on more work being needed for the UK Gambling Commission to evolve into a viable regulator. This came after operators within the country’s iGaming industry were invited to feedback any comments on the sector to the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport department in December 2022.

This feedback was requested by the DCMS as part of the Government’s continued work on a gambling white paper. As keen iGaming fans will know, this is a white paper that has been a long time in the making and is now expected to be presented in May 2023.

Although this means the white paper on UK gambling has not been launched yet, some details of the comments received by the DCMS have been released. This has seen details emerge of many top operators across UK iGaming, voicing concerns about the UKGC’s operations. 

Top brands lining up to criticize UK Gambling Commission 

When you take a look at the facts and statistics around UK online gambling, you soon see that it is in a vibrant place. This is especially true when you consider the massive online casino brands that operate within the country. 

It is some of these top-end operators though, who have been most vocal in questioning the UKGC. This includes highly regarded iGaming brands such as Flutter and Bally’s. To give a clearer idea of what comments were received; Flutter stated that the UKGC was poor at engaging with operators or working with them on any feedback provided. 

The company also commented on the UKGC’s inability to manage and address the country’s iGaming industry properly. This also led them to claim that the UKGC had “underestimated the complexity of the technology” used by online casino platforms and needed more help from industry experts to improve in this area. 

Bally’s quick to have their say 

Bally’s are a familiar brand within UK iGaming, and they were quick to agree with much of what Flutter said about the UKGC. Their published feedback also noted that the regulatory body were slow to assess emerging tech in the industry, which touched on current guidelines when creating new policies. 

Entain were another operator whose feedback caught the eye. They were quick to claim that the UKGC should take a “cooperative rather than confrontational” approach when working with iGaming brands. This global gaming operator also commented that it had given repeated feedback to the UK Gambling Commission over time but much of it was ignored. 

Affordability checks a hot topic 

The upcoming white paper on UK gambling is something that is a hot topic for the entire industry. Within this, affordability checks are a real bone of contention. While they sound like a good idea in principle, many operators feel that checks such as these could lead to an increase in black-market gambling. 

Despite this, some operators in the UK market believe that affordability checks will be coming soon and have already started preparing for them. This, however, can be tricky without any clear guidance to work with. 

It is therefore essential that the Government not only take into account the feedback received via the DCMS but that it also includes clear, fully tested guidance around affordability checks in its white paper. 

UKGC comes under fire from top iGaming brands 

As the above shows, the UK Gambling Commission has been subject to some stinging criticism of late from a number of well-known operators. These comments are being reviewed as part of the Government’s upcoming white paper on gambling and could see changes to how the UKGC works moving ahead.

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