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Gambling Commission makes online gambling safer

26 March 2018

New plans to make gambling online in Britain safer than ever before have been announced by the Gambling Commission.

Statistics show that industry profits1 from the sector have grown 10% to 4.7bn in the last year, and public participation has increased from 15.5% in 2014 to 18.3% in 2017. It is estimated that nine million people across Britain gamble online.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and we are continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers.

“The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”

Tracey Crouch Minister for Sport and Civil Society said: "We are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling."

Proposed changes and action include:

  • further protecting children by banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined
  • improving the speed and effectiveness of age verification processes
  • ensuring operators set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted
  • tackling unacceptable marketing and advertising and unfair terms, and improving complaints and disputes procedures
  • strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be experiencing, or are at risk of developing, problems with their gambling.

The review also identifies five areas where the Commission is undertaking further work during the coming year.

The Commission is going to:

  • assess the effectiveness of the current tools available to consumers to manage their gambling
  • review gambling product characteristics to identify whether particular features pose greater risk of harm than others
  • review our requirements on the protection of customer funds and consider whether there are sufficient protections around dormant accounts
  • consider whether gambling on credit should continue to be permitted
  • consider whether we need to make changes to ensure that consumers can withdraw funds more easily.

Read the Gambling Commission Review of online gambling.

1 This figure relates to the gross gambling yield (GGY) – the amount retained by operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of the costs of the operation.

Note to editors

  1. Read Professor David Forrest and Professor Ian McHale analysis of play among British online gamblers on slots and other casino-style games (opens in new tab) (PDF) (opens in new tab), commissioned by GambleAware. We worked with thirteen operators to supply the underlying dataset and are in the process of making sure it is fully anonymised and accessible. Once we’ve finished this process, it is our intention to publish the data.
  2. Find out more about social responsibility.
  3. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
  4. Useful statistics on the gambling industry.

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email:

For all media enquiries, please contact the Gambling Commission press office.

Last updated: 27 August 2023

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