Gambling: Legal and Regulatory changes in the UK

Posted on 15 October 2015. Source: American Gaming Lawyer

Gambling: Legal and Regulatory changes in the UK

Susan Breen and Stuart McMaster's latest article for the American Gaming Lawyer addresses 'The Changing Legal and Regulatory Landscape of the UK'.

The UK has recently seen major legal and regulatory changes in the online gambling sector. The most significant recent changes have been the shift to “point of consumption” regulatory and tax regimes, and the increased focus on responsible gaming. Further developments relating to customer due diligence and social responsibility are on the horizon. This article focuses on how the recent changes and future developments affect online gambling operators.

Data Analytics versus Individual Privacy

In August 2014, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) launched a review focused on improving the social responsibility provisions of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) which licence holders are required to observe. Among the new and amended provisions of the LCCP that came into force on 8 May 2015 is the requirement for licensees to use data analytics to identify those customers who are potentially at risk of gambling-related harm, even if they are not displaying obvious signs of behaviours associated with problem gambling.

The details of how and when data analytics should be used have been left open; the UKGC simply requires operators to make use of ‘all relevant sources of information’. The UKGC has given some broad examples of the types of data it considers relevant, such as where a customer undergoes a change in spending levels or in the types of product used. Of course, such changes may simply reflect a change in habits or tastes, rather than a developing problem; this will result in a complex series of judgement calls having to be made, whether by individuals or suitable algorithms.

The UKGC has also observed that the use of data analytics in this way involves a certain sacrifice. The gathering of the data needed to develop better player protection measures comes at a cost to the privacy and personal freedoms of the consumer. Despite sounding a note of caution on this front, the UKGC evidently feels that the sacrifice is worthwhile.

Click here to read the full article (pages 10 & 11)