UK Gambling Commission introduces new rules for VIP gambler schemes

30th September 2020 8:56 am GMT
Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission has introduced new rules relating to VIP schemes in an effort to better protect problem gamblers and ensure that high value gamblers can afford their spending.

Several of the VIP scheme rules have already been implemented by members of the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) under a code of conduct introduced earlier this year, with the Gambling Commission now “formalising elements of that code to ensure these minimum requirements are enforceable across the whole industry”.

From 31 October, all UK-licensed operators will be required to establish the affordability and sustainability of VIP customers’ gambling spend and to assess whether there is evidence of gambling related harm or a heightened risk of harm.

Licensees must also ensure that they have up to date evidence relating to identity, occupation and source of funds, with this information subject to ongoing review alongside gambling harm checks.

The most significant change will see operators appoint a senior executive who holds a personal management licence (PMLs) to oversee their respective scheme, making individuals personally accountable.

“We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer. Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately,” said Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur.

“We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70% since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year. Whilst that is a sign of the positive impact our innovative approach to collaborative working can have, these new rules are designed to ensure progress continues to be made to protect vulnerable customers.”

“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 added. “These new rules are part of the Commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction of strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”

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