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UK Gambling Commission Begins Consultation of Policy Changes

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is hoping to speed up its regulatory settlement process through an overhaul of its Licensing, Compliance, and Enforcement Policy.

The gambling authority has begun a consultation process on a number of planned changes to its policies regarding risk assessments, licensing, carrying out compliance activities, and regulatory and criminal enforcement.

The consultation will be running until 9 February 2022 and it will be seeking the opinion of operators, trade associations, charities, financial institutions, and other stakeholders, as well as the general public, about the new proposals.

In the document, the UKGC states that regulatory settlements are currently only agreed upon late in the investigation process and that the agreements can only be reached when the licensee is honest and provides necessary information. As such, a new policy stating that offers for settlements should be put forward early in the investigation process has been suggested.

The regulator has also proposed being able to ask the licensee for financial information in order to assess an appropriate level of fine based upon the business’ financial probity and that of its parent company. If a business does not supply this information, then it will be assumed that it has funds available.

The document also proposes giving licensees the ability to challenge interim suspensions at a regulatory panel of commissioners.

A further proposal is that if an operator is found to be breaking compliance rules, then a plan will be put together to address the failings. The process may require an operator to give up their proceeds from the failings. If the authority is then happy with the operator’s work in addressing failings, it will not review its business license.

The UKGC has also been looking at its approach to products involving stocks, shares, indexes or investments, and has concluded they should be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, this is unlikely to happen before the Gambling Act Review, so it has suggested no longer issuing licenses to operators offering these products.

Other proposals outlined in the document include clarifications of licensing criteria, and giving the authority the ability to turn down incomplete applications.

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