Responsible gambling has been a hot topic in the United Kingdom. With the country’s main regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, having planned quite a few changes down the road, British gaming operators are happy to play ball.
Senet Group, an industry watchdog, committed to responsible gaming, has just signed some of the largest UK brands willing to reinforce their efforts insofar as customer safety is concerned.
The company is rallying established leaders, such as GVC, William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, SkyBet and Scotbet, under its banner in a bid to initiate industry-wide change to protect the customer.
Building Safer Gaming in the UK
In 2018, the country was caught in a debate on how to treat fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) with the disputes so heated that they led to the resignation of former sports minister Tracey Crouch, forcing the government to sit up and listen.
The main issue with FOBTs, Crouch argued, was that a planned reduction of the maximum stakes from £100 to £2 was deferred to cater to the needs of business and not the best interest of customers.
Originally, Theresa May’s government planned to slash the FOBTs rate in October 2019 hiking the Remote Gaming Duty, a tax on online casinos, to 21% from the current 15% rate. However, the government finally had to give in, and as of April, FOBTs have been operating at £2 as the maximum allowable stake per spin.
All of Senet Group’s latest members including William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair have agreed to apply similar measures in Northern Ireland, even though the country has not yet addressed the issue of FOBTs.
Meanwhile, SkyBet has decided to opt into a voluntary watershed ban. The ads have been limited to one per break, and the company has been campaigning for other operators to follow suit.
In all sense of the word, Senet Group has added worthy participants who will be able to raise the standards across the industry and seek to set examples for others.
Ensuring Responsible Practices
Senet Group’s Sarah Hanratty has used the occasion to comment on the changes underway in the gambling industry. According to Hanratty, the sector still has a long way to go and it “needs to improve its ability to collaborate on the development, testing and sharing of interventions which work.”
By adding established and recognizable names from the industry, Hanratty believes that industry-wide changes are possible. This bid for change comes amid the latest string of changes introduced by the UK Gambling Commission.
The Commission wants to establish safe practices that will help prevent several issues, including underage gaming, overspending, developing gambling addiction and more. The latest set of measures is extensive, and it tightens the regulations immensely.
In 2019, the watchdog wants to address not only how operators handle customers, but also how their affiliates prepare materials that can be relied on. Trusted operators like those found on casino reviews here are actually vetted by regulators and casino officials, as misleading potential customers is an offense that can be punished by the UKGC.
Forget Gambling Addiction
Senet’s main priority is to overcome reckless gambling behavior and to help spot symptoms of gambling addiction by relying on operators that will seek to protect their customers. The latest addition of five leading UK brands supplements the already existing members Aspers, Caesars, Genting, Playtech and the Rank Group.
By signing up a mix of brick-and-mortar and online casinos and software developers, Senet Group is addressing the problem in its entirety. Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly has welcomed the addition of the latest members, explaining:
“This is a significant statement of intent from all five companies who share the view that responsible gambling should be at the heart of our businesses.”
Senet Group’s mission in 2019 isn’t as demanding as it might have been in the past. Today, the UK Gambling Commission is aware of all the subtle changes that need to be introduced to the iGaming industry in its entirety to guarantee customer safety.
Companies such as William Hill and SkyBet have already shown how voluntary measures can be implemented to help curb the negative impact of the industry.
Understandably, some measures have affected business rather more harshly, including the FOBTs maximum stake reduction and the fact that the UKGC will now expect operators in the UK to verify a customer identity right away.
The Commission now explicitly states that to play on any licensed operator in the UK, a customer must have had their identity checked and proven first. This comes at a time when the national self-exclusion scheme, GameStop, has been found out to come with some drawbacks, including the ability of excluded individuals to circumnavigate bans, a recent BBC report has revealed.
Senet Group is on top of all these issues, though, by adding the best operators in the country to its rank and charting a reliable course for the gaming industry in its entirety.