Thursday, 15 October 2020

UK Online Casinos Take On BGC’s New Video Slot Code Of Conduct

Video Slot BGC Code Of Conduct

UK online casinos have now taken on the Betting and Gaming Council’s (BGC) new code of conduct regarding the design of play of video slots.

The BGC unveiled the new code of conduct back in September and was part of the company’s commitment to improving standards with the online gambling industry while also working to clampdown on the number of people suffering from gambling-related harm. As reported by CITYAM, online casinos across the UK have now adopted the new code of conduct on slots.

As part of the rules, operators are now required to implement a minimum game cycle speed of 2.5 seconds per spin. What’s more, casino sites in the UK can no longer offer players a Turbo Play feature designed to speed up gameplay, nor can they provide users with multi-slot play features where users can play multiple games at the same time.

In addition to the changing how slots operate at UK websites, the BGC’s new measures also require casino operators to conduct additional mandatory checks on customer activity to identify any potential signs of gambling addiction.

Speaking about the new measures, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said in a statement: “The BGC was set up last year with the aim of leading a race to the top in terms of standards within the regulated betting industry.

“The new Game Design Code of Conduct is yet another example of our determination to address concerns head-on and meet our safer gambling commitments. I’m sure that our members will embrace this approach and commit to its objective of improving player safety. And as we prepare for the forthcoming Gambling Review, it is further evidence of our industry’s commitment to improving standards – unlike the completely unregulated black market.”

Gambling Revenue Declining

The news comes just as the UK Gambling Commission confirms a decline in gambling revenue since March 2020. The Commission’s new figures, which comprise around 80% of the market, reveal that August saw a decline of 2% in the number of bets made throughout the month, a 7% drop in the number of active customers, as well as a 12% decrease in real event betting.

According to the Commission’s report, gross gambling yield (GGY) decreased by 12%, a figure which the Commission attributes to the break in English Premier League football, school holidays, and the loosening of COVID restrictions which allowed for more spending.

The data shared by the Commission, which covers the period between March and August 2020, also revealed that the number of online slot sessions lasting more than an hour decreased by 7%, with the average slot session lasting around 21 minutes in total. The regulatory body also announced that the number of customer interactions undertaken by operators increased to 11%.

Commenting on the fall in gambling revenue, the Commission noted that the industry is still adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic, saying: “Gambling behaviours continue to evolve as the country responds to challenges posed by Covid-19, but further underlines the importance of the Commission’s updated guidance to operators.”

In its report, the Commission also reaffirmed its commitment to protecting players amid the Covid-19 pandemic, stressing that it has continued to assess the impact of guidance issued to casino operators, collect and publish all data regarding gambling during the pandemic, support both the land-based and online industries as best as possible, and take further action to protect customers.

In addition to helping customers and the gambling industry, the UK Gambling Commission has been working to change the gambling industry. In April, the Commission imposed a ban on credit card gambling, and it announced new rules earlier this month which change how operators run their VIP schemes and loyalty programmes.

The Commission also issued new guidance to casino operators in May amid the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown. The guidance banned operators from reversing withdrawals, and it implemented additional restrictions to bonuses and other promotion as well as mandatory affordability checks.

UKGC Tackling Gambling-Related Harm

More recently, the UK Gambling Commission called for more action from the finance industry. Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of the UKGC, invited the finance industry to join a multi-sector approach to addressing and tackling gambling-related harm during the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference this week.

During his keynote speech at the virtual conference, McArthur revealed the Commission is looking to work with the financial sector to find innovative ways to “reduce gambling-related harm”. He said: “We all have a part to play to protect vulnerable consumers.

“The Gambling Commission has already banned gambling with credit cards, as evidence showed that it would reduce the risk of gambling harm to consumers. That was an important step, but there is always more that can be done.”

He continued: “The financial sector has an important role to play. We have already seen the introduction by banks of gambling blocking software, together with the use of data to support customers affected by problem gambling. Today’s event was an important opportunity for colleagues to look at how we can make gambling safer, and I welcomed the opportunity to share our plans and priorities with professionals from across the finance sector.”

The conference is part of a two-part programme of work that firm Money and Mental Health has undertaken with the aim of engaging the financial sector to help reduce gambling-related harm.

Katie Alpin, the Interim Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen the financial services industry play an increasingly important role in supporting people affected by gambling problems – from the introduction of gambling blocks, to new advances in using customer data to identify and help those who are struggling.

“We hope that today’s conference will help galvanise firms from across the sector to build on this progress, and to go even further in improving support for customers experiencing gambling problems. That could make a big difference to the two million adults across Britain whose gambling habits may be having a damaging impact on their financial and mental wellbeing.”