Gambling Commission Will Not Regulate Social Gaming

Gambling Commission Will Not Regulate Social GamingLast year there were several government talks about the regulation of social gaming. The UK has a thriving regulated internet gaming market that offers players a good measure of consumer protections. At a social gaming conference last November Jez San, president and founder of real-money gambling firm PKR, said that he believes that industry self-regulation is the best course of action. San stated “I don’t believe social games should be regulated. But I do believe the providers of the social games should take a more responsible attitude than they are currently taking.” San also addressed the issue of problem gambling and told conference attendees “We don’t want to be profiled as having ruined someone’s life or bankrupted a single mother who can’t pay the bills. We act in a very responsible manner. We don’t allow minors to play, and we don’t allow the vulnerable to play. The social gaming world doesn’t acknowledge such problems and would like to put its head in the sand and pretend that it’s a free world and people can spend whatever they want.”

Evidently the UK’s Gambling Commission agreed with San’s logic. In January the commission revealed that the agency which oversees gambling operations in the UK has no intention of taking on the additional responsibility of regulating social gaming. The Gambling Commission said it wants the social gaming industry to do a better job of self-regulation. In a speech at London’s venerable City Hall Phillip Graf outlined how he hoped the commission will approach social gaming in the future. Graf said that future approaches to social gaming will be shaped by effective industry self-regulation.

Graf stated “We have no absolutely desire to widen our regulatory scope but we will continue to assess the nature and size of these risks. A lot depends on whether those who provide gambling-like social games consider the potential risks to players and implement the necessary responsible gambling consumer protection measures. I would suggest it is in their interests to self-regulate if they want their business model to be sustainable. At the same time we already expect licensed operators to build in social responsibility to all that they do including as they innovate and take advantage of social media, promotion and delivery of responsible yet attractive products to their customers.”

Graf stated that the Gambling Commission is concerned about the rapid growth of social gaming and the potential risks to young players and the lack of consumer protections. He also expressed concerns that social games may be used to promote gambling to young players. Graf said “It is important to say at the outset that we certainly do not wish to regulate where we don’t have to. If there are minimal risks to the public or those risks are being properly managed and mitigated either by responsible providers and users or by existing mechanisms, for example the OFT or Ofcom, then there will be no need for us to act.”