Feedback on new measures
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched a new consultation asking for feedback from the industry and consumers on stricter safer gambling measures for online operators.
The consultation will run for ten weeks, from November 3 to January 12.
According to the regulatory body, the new measures would help ensure online operators are more active in identifying customers who may be at risk of problem gambling. The UKGC is hoping the new measures will see operators intervene as early and effectively as possible to prevent harm. The consultation will run for ten weeks, from November 3 to January 12.
Commenting on the launch, UKGC executive director, Tim Miller, said: “We want to have an open discussion with the gambling industry, consumers, people with lived experience and other stakeholders, to ensure we strike the right balance between allowing consumer freedom and ensuring that there are protections in place to prevent gambling harm.”
Details of potential changes
Under current UKGC requirements, operators must attempt to minimize any risk of consumers experiencing gambling harm. The Commission has provided customer interaction guidance to assist operators with this. However, the regulatory body is aiming to make the requirements “stronger and clearer.”
Although the UKGC recognizes some operators have made improvements to their customer protection policies, and has taken action to penalize those who have not, the regulatory body believes more can still be done. According to the Commission, the current affordability thresholds set out for action in the case of potential problem gambling are too high.
online operators must act on information about a customer’s vulnerability at an earlier stage
The UKGC is proposing the introduction of new Social Responsibility Code requirements into its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice. As part of these requirements, online operators must introduce lower affordability thresholds dictated by the Commission. The consultation will ask for feedback on what thresholds for affordability should be, in addition to how operators should act after identifying a vulnerable customer.
Recent VIP customer reform
In June, the Commission launched a similar consultation into high value customers. The consultation asked for industry views on potential changes to the rules governing operators when dealing with VIPs.
On October 31, the Commission introduced new VIP scheme management rules as a result of the June consultation. The new rules require operators to conduct stricter checks before a customer is upgraded to a high value customer, including ensuring a customer’s spending is sustainable and affordable. All operators are also required to assign a senior executive to oversee their VIP programs – making the individual personally responsible for the protection of high value customers.
Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations.”
Commenting at the time, Neil McArthur, CEO of the UKGC, warned that failure to meet the requirements could lead to more dramatic reform. “Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes,” McArthur ensured.