Neil McArthur, the CEO of the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission) has issued a message to online gambling operators regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The message served as a reminder to gambling operators including online bingo operators, of the fact that the risks of harm arising from online gambling have increased as a result of recent events.
In an email sent to all licensees and published on the UKGC website, Neil McArthur made it clear that the UKGC will not tolerate “irresponsible behaviour” from the UK gambling operators during the Coronavirus lockdown and that it will not hesitate to intervene if social responsibility standards start to slide.
As well as gambling operators, forex (foreign exchange) brokers are seeing an uptick in volumes whilst the lockdown progressed. The FCA (financial conduct authority) had already issued a warning to brokers, and it wasn't long before the UKGC did the same to its gambling operators.
Conduct Under Scrutiny
The conduct of the UK gambling operators has been under intense scrutiny from the UKGC over the last few years. With record fines being dished in 2019, it seems 2020 will show no let up for the UK bingo, casino, and betting companies.
McArthur recognised the increase in online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports, saying:
“We expect you to be very mindful that customers may be vulnerable and experiencing financial uncertainty, whilst others may be experiencing other effects of being isolated including, for example, feelings of anxiety, loneliness or boredom.”
“If we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately. So, whilst I know that the current climate is unprecedented, gambling operators must play their part in making sure that people are kept safe.”