U.K. Gambling Commission releases codes

Britain's Gambling Commission announced Monday the new conditions and codes that gambling businesses will have to meet when the new laws go into effect in 2007.

The codes and regulations are part of the new gambling laws set up by Britain in October 2005 which will allow online gambling and other forms of land-based gambling in the nation and take full effect in 2007.

"Another milestone has been reached by the Gambling Commission in publishing these conditions and codes today," said Peter Dean, U.K. Gambling Commission chairman. "Britain's gambling laws are undergoing wholesale reform, and from September next year, all operators must be licensed by the Gambling Commission."

The conditions and codes created by the commission set out the rules which operators must observe are meant to serve three different purposes set out by the commission:

  • Keep crime out of gambling.
  • Ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.
  • Protect children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling

"Many adults enjoy gambling for fun and, in most cases, with no harmful effects, but a small minority of gamblers have problems and the effects can be very severe on them and those around them," Dean said.

To meet those three objectives and protect and help those vulnerable to gambling, businesses will have to meet certain criteria in order to be licensed.

The general outline of the "License Conditions and Codes of Practice" is that businesses must:

  • Put into effect policies and procedures to promote socially responsible gambling.
  • Train staff about problem gambling and how to interact with customers who may be affected, including arrangements for self-exclusion.
  • Ensure there is sufficient information so that players can understand the games and the odds they face.
  • Make information about responsible gambling and help available to problem gamblers accessible on the licensees' Web site and log-in pages.
  • Provide problem gambling information in other languages if the operator advertises in those languages.
  • Only allow one account per player gambling remotely to facilitate player tracking.
  • Have tight controls that limit incentives for customers to gamble.
  • Ensure that key staff such as the finance, marketing and managing directors hold personal licenses from the Gaming Commission.
  • Follow careful procedures to prevent underage gambling.
  • Implement the code on door supervision to keep children out of casinos.
  • Comply with exacting requirements to prevent money laundering.

The gaming sectors that will be effected by these codes include arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, lotteries and Internet gambling such as online casino and online poker sites. For a more fully-defined list of the codes and conditions, visit www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Now that the commission has set up a basis for regulation, the next step is for businesses to comply with those standards and apply for a new license. They will be able to start applying for the new license Jan. 1.

The Gambling Commission will also be able to prosecute gambling businesses that don't maintain the standards set out for them to get a license. They can impose unlimited fines on operators that breach the licensing conditions.

"It is our job to regulate so that adults can gamble safely," Dean said. "Our rules have been set to that end, and we will take decisive action against operators who fail to comply with them."

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