Gambling Commission seeks views on industry rewards programmes

22nd June 2020 9:02 am GMT
Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission has opened a public consultation on changes to the way operators treat high value customers.

The consultation aims to address two issues related to high value customers (HVCs); their heavy engagement with gambling products through spend or frequency and the disproportionate value of HVCs to licensed operators.

The launch of the consultation follows collaborative work between the industry and regulator to make gambling safer and reduce harm across the sector.

This has seen an industry working group led by GVC Holdings and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) develop a draft voluntary code for HVCs, which requires operators to undertake full customer assessments before offering any HVC incentives.

It also requires licensees to maintain full audit trails relating to their HVC reward programmes and prohibits them from linking HVC team remunerations to an individual’s loss or spend, with players under the age of 24 ineligible for participation.

However, former HVCs on the Gambling Commission’s Expert Group have called for the programmes to be banned altogether.

The UKGC consultation, which closes on 14 August, is seeking views on the proposed changes, which would become mandatory.

“As HVCs are a subset of the wider customer base, licensees should already be applying regulatory controls concerning customer protection and due diligence. Much of what we are proposing in this consultation will not represent an additional burden to compliant licensees,” the UKGC stated.

“Communicating clearly how existing and additional requirements specific to HVCs should be applied will give a clearer basis for the Commission to enforce minimum standards. That should result in higher standards of customer protection and reduce the incidence of gambling-related crime,” it added.

“The provision of guidance will help licensees assess whether they are able to provide HVC schemes with the necessary safeguards. Where a licensee cannot provide that assurance, they will be required to cease offering such schemes/incentives.”

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