Friday, July 19, 2024
Sports Betting Phenoms

UKGC Deputy CEO highlights regulatory progress and challenges

Some of the challenges included an increase in micro-betting-related disputes and concerns about over-personalization

Sarah Gardner, deputy chief executive at the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission (UKGC) addressed a number of issues at the recent KPMG Gibraltar eSummit. Coming ahead of the recent elections in the UK, Gardner’s speech reflected on certain matters that she believes regulators should keep in mind.

In her speech, Gardner discussed, among other things, the increased number of player disputes caused by micro-betting. Micro-betting, for context, is a form of wagering that allows players to place wagers on smaller in-game events, such as whether a certain player will receive a card, score a goal, etc.

However, some micro bets sometimes have elements that some players could “see differently,” including whether a shot was taken, was on target, a tackle made, etc. Such micro-markets are ultimately more subjective and have caused many to dispute sportsbooks’ decisions. These challenges would likely be solved by AI-powered solutions in the future but for now, they create many difficulties, Gardner said.

According to Gardner, micro-betting as a whole is a reflection of an overall transition to hyper-personalized gambling. Personalization includes data-powered 3D simulations that provide bettors with all the odds and information they care about, based on their preferences.

Gardner believes that the shift toward personalized products is likely to reduce unwanted cross-selling of products but noted that products that are tailored to gamblers’ preferences could lead to an increase in gambling harm.

In the meantime, Gardner cited findings from the Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB) to illustrate the state of the British market. Based on 5,000 responses collected from November 2024 to February 2024, the release suggests that 48% of adult respondents had gambled at least once in the past 4 weeks. This number coincided with the number of players who had visited pubs in the past month.

Most gamblers were fairly ambivalent when it came to gambling and did it either for fun or for a shot at a big prize. Lotteries were the most popular vertical, especially among players aged 45 to 74.

In the meantime, the UKGC continued to leverage its Consumer Voice program to deliver “in-depth research that brings the voice of gambling consumers into the Commission.” In 2023, Gardner said, the UKGC had spoken to more than 7,000 consumers, covering a variety of safer gambling-related topics.

The UKGC is not complacent, according to Gardner, and instead remains committed to analyzing the market and drawing evidence-based conclusions.

In addition, the regulator is committed to protecting the legal gambling market from unlicensed offshore competition. In 2023 alone, the UKGC issued 452 cease-and-desist orders and disruption notices. It also reported a whopping 7,000+ URLs associated with illegal gambling for delisting.

In April this year, the UKGC delivered another 28,000 URLs associated with 113 websites to Google. So far, the tech giant has removed 89 of the sites.

Gardner concluded that the UKGC is determined to work with all interested parties to “build better outcomes in Great Britain.”

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