U.K. GAMBLING COMMISSION IS KEEPING AN EYE ON E-SPORTS
07th August, 2016 at 08:22:28
CEO sees "real challenges" in £400 million-a-year skin gambling market.
The UK Gambling Commission
is monitoring the burgeoning, £ 400 million-a-year eSports market and will not hesitate to use its powers to the full in stamping out any unlicensed and illegal gambling, the chief executive of the regulator, Sarah Harrison (50) said in a weekend interview with the publication This Is Money.
'This is a very significant market and one we're quite focused on,' she said. "Is there a risk of it being attractive to or played by young people? We are seeing real challenges here and will use our powers to the full, including taking criminal action where we see betting and gambling that isn't licensed."
Harrison outlined several ways in which the Commission has the power to act, including: a host of ways she is homing in on irresponsible gambling firms including:
* Tougher sanctions for firms that repeatedly fail to act responsibly and comply with regulations;
* Recommending Government reviews on gambling laws;
* Shrinking maximum stakes on gambling;
* Encouraging more cash and action from the industry to tackle addiction.
The article notes that eSports is already generating prize money in the millions, and that reputable professional business services company Deloitte Global has predicted that the vertical will generate global revenue of $500 million (£ 400million) in 2016...and gambling on the results of competitions is growing and will soon have a value equal to that of the industry itself.
This Is Money reminds readers that the Commission has teeth and in recent times has been active in disciplining the gambling industry with fines on National Lottery operator Camelot (£ 300,000), Betfred
(£ 800,000), Gala Coral
(£846,000) and Paddy Power
(£280,000) for compliance failures ranging from anti-money laundering to social responsibility.
"Our job in law is to permit gambling, but make sure it is fair, safe for consumers and free of crime," Harrison said. "Recently we've had five investigations, all resulting in penalties and the firms conducting external audits of their processes.
"They've had to stand up in front of their peers and say what they've learnt. If we find there are firms who repeat mistakes they can expect tougher sanctions."
Harrison revealed that the Commission is currently considering whether its sanctions are tough enough in terms of imposing fines, launching criminal actions and suspending or revoking licenses...and she says the Commission will use all the powers at its disposal to ensure consumer protection.
She singled out fixed odds betting terminals in retail betting shops as an area of public concern, and indicated that she would welcome an urgent government review, commenting that punters lost £1.7 billion to the machines last year, and that the main growth lies in Vegas-style slot games that allow a maximum bet of £ 2, but the spins are faster.
"To focus on stake size alone is unlikely to be a silver bullet. We'd like all options on the table, including further stake reduction. Our goal is to reduce harm related to gambling and look at it from every mode of gambling
Related News Tags: Lotteries, Betfred, Coral, Gala, Paddy Power