The British regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, outlined a new strategy that identified protecting the interests of consumers and preventing harm to vulnerable players, as two of its five strategic priorities for the next four years.
- Gambling Commission have outlined a new strategy that identified protecting the interests of consumers.
- KGC also pledge to raise the standards in gambling marketing, optimising returns to good causes and improving the regulatory methods that are put in place.
- The new strategy would help operators to navigate the threat of Bitcoin casinos.
The online casino market in the UK continues to evolve at a rapid rate, as new opportunities for growth emerge on an annual basis. There are also a series of new challenges for operators to manage as the market continues to diversify, particularly as regulators strive to create a fair iGaming environment for customers.
In this post, we'll explore this is in further detail, and ask what it’s likely to mean for operators in the UK.
Prioritising people and the user experience
In many ways, the approach of the British regulator should come as no surprise, as it embodies the way in which the online gambling market has evolved during the last decade. With security concerns and barriers to entry now things of the past, operators been able to focus on enhancing the customer experience and creating a fair, transparent marketplace.
In addition to protecting the interests of customers and preventing vulnerable players from coming to harm, the UKGC is also pledging to raise the standards in gambling marketing, optimising returns to good causes and improving the regulatory methods that are put in place. There are two clear and underlying goals here, namely to enhance the reputation of the iGaming industry and redress the perceived imbalance that exists between operators and customers alike.
How will these impact operators?
We’ve already seen regulators make strides to implement new strategic measures; such as clamping down on television advertising and proposing to ban marketing promotions during live sporting events. This is the type of dynamic regulation that helps the UKGC to uphold its commitment, while also achieving several of its objectives with one fell swoop. Not only does it tighten and improve gambling marketing practices, but it also protects vulnerable customers from being exposed to emotive, real-time messaging.
At first glance, it may appear as though this is bad news for operators, even accounting for the fact that they drive the majority of their promotions online. After all, in-play betting has become a key revenue stream for online bookmakers, by targeting customers when they’re at their most engaged with a sporting event.
Despite this, the new ethos of the regulator (and this proposed change in particularly) offers a huge opportunity to like-minded and forward-thinking operators. After all, brands that embrace the idea of safeguarding customers will be able to establish themselves as ambassadors within the industry, while also positioning themselves and people-centric businesses that place a great deal of stock in the customer journey.
Taking this approach would also help operators to navigate the threat of Bitcoin casinos, which are helping to create a transparent customer experience that gamblers crave. Similarly, there are talks that blockchain technology may soon underpin the world’s first ‘zero house edge’ casino, establishing a completely fair platform from which players could optimise their chances of winning.
The last word
Not everything is always as it first seems, and the new approach of the UKGC provides a relevant case in point. While this may seem oppressive to operators, it affords brands an opportunity to better engage their audience, while also establishing themselves as ambassadors for fair play, transparency and the welfare of individual customers.
We should therefore watch this space with interest, in a bid to see which brands prosper and which fail to adapt to the rigours of more intense regulations.