While attending the ARQ Gaming Compliance Forum, UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) chief executive Neil McArthur pushed for better standards for overseas regulators. He suggested that regulators need to work on raising the benchmark when it comes to entities that cater to British customers. He further noted that the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) shares the UKGC’s concerns in this regard.

A study from 2018 suggests that 45 out of 123 online casino operators in the UK were asked to raise their standards and submit an action plan for the same. Another 14 were subjected to further investigation. Seven of these operators paid £18 million in penalties to the regulators while five others were asked to surrender their licenses. Another three PMLs were also surrendered. This goes on to show a majority of online casino operators are yet to up the ante when it comes to regulatory compliance.

McArthur said that it is not optional for operators to comply with the regulations in both letter and spirit. It is important to note that 24 operators who had to submit action plans to improve compliance, 5 operators who had to pay penalties and 3 who had to surrender their operating licenses were based in Malta.

Maltese operators make up for 30% of the total gross gambling yield (YYD), which accounts for 1/8th of the total regulated market. In 2014, they made up for 10% of the GGY. The most important sector demanding better control is mobile and online games. Designers were urged to establish an industry code for game design which complies with technical standards and LCCP to help level the playing field.

The new code could cover the practices that are acceptable or unacceptable in the industry, game designing techniques, product risks, and how to mitigate them and questions related to inducement to gambling. McArthur also said that one of the major operators in the sector has approached the UKGC with a code of conduct. The commission expects other firms to make similar commitments.

He also emphasized on gambling advertising and how it is affecting children, young people as well as problem gamblers or vulnerable populations. He urged regulators to ensure that gambling advertisements do not expose these groups to the industry.

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