The U.K. Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced a review to investigate whether the use of third-party software could lead to episodes of cheating and collusion in online poker.
In a note released on Oct. 8, the U.K. gambling authority explained that "regulations governing online poker where players play against each other — as opposed to playing the operator — are being reviewed."
The review will include several stages, the first of which will see the UKGC to seek information from the operators holding a license to operate in the U.K. "about collusion and cheating — including the use of automated poker robots ('bots') and third-party software."
We want to make sure online poker is crime free, fair and open and children and vulnerable people are protected.
"We've been asking licensees who offer peer-to-peer poker for information and their views on current issues identified in relation to this product," a spokesman from the UKGC stated. "We want this information in order to assess whether the current controls in Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) and the Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS) are sufficient to ensure online poker is crime free, fair and open and children and vulnerable people are protected."
The spokesman also explained that the results of the review will be used "to help shape a future formal consultation on remote technical standards. We are also considering the impact of game integrity issues overall and using the opportunity to canvass views more generally."
The review promoted by the UKGC comes only weeks after the world's largest poker site, PokerStars, and partypoker announced their decision to tighten their policies on the use of third-party software.
Commenting on the changes that stop players from using tracking software and heads-up displays (HUDs), prevent players from sharing hand history databases, and halt the use of seating scripts on partypoker, the poker room's Head of Poker BI and Network Operations, Jay Kanabar, told PokerNews that room is doing its duty "as an online poker operator to provide a level playing field and ensure that we strive to provide the fairest and most ethical environment for all poker players to enjoy the game that we all love."
The issue of bots being used at some of the most popular online poker sites rose to prominence back in July, when PokerStars admitted an investigation over the some players from Russia and Kazakhstan who allegedly used artificial intelligence to put together winnings for $1.5 million while playing in mid-stakes pot-limit Omaha games.