As usual, we would be really grateful if someone could look into their crystal ball and let us know what is going to happen next with the Gambling Act review….
We’ve had lots of theories passed on to us about the likely outcome of the review, but so far the official position is not much further forward that a year ago when the review was first announced. Apparently the government’s white paper is due in May- so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for some more news soon, but for now this is the current position.
The Review of the Gambling Act 2005 Terms of Reference and Call for Evidence began on 08 December 2020. The Call for Evidence included a number of questions and covered-
Online protections (players and products), Advertising, sponsorship and branding, Gambling Commission’s powers and resources, Consumer Redress, Age limits and verification and Land based gambling.
Any responses to this were due at midnight on Wednesday 31st March 2021. Much muttering between March 2021 and March 2022, but really not a whole lot of news.
On 08 March 2022, Minister Chris Philp’s gave a keynote speech at the Gambling Reform Rally organised by the Gambling Related Harm APPG and Peers for Gambling Reform. In this speech he put a great deal of emphasis on gambling harms and the need to reform in order to protect the vulnerable, referencing a number of high profile incidents in which customers were sadly allowed to gamble beyond their means. Focus was placed on operators and their duties to customers.
Again emphasis is being placed on what more can be done to protect these vulnerable persons, and in particular how technology can be utilised to provide further protections- or to highlight any malpractice. Hints are given to extending the Commission’s powers to access and analyse data collected by operators. Similarly the speech leans away from self-regulation and towards greater intervention, and power, of the Commission.
It is acknowledged that a reasonable and practicable approach should be taken, with clear guidance and thresholds as to who should be monitored more closely, rather than a blanket system being adopted. It is also acknowledged that individuals are free to gamble, but that operators must do more to prevent any vulnerable persons from being able to gamble.
Within this speech Mr Philp’s stated the White Paper was in the process of being finalised…
The Gambling Commission are committed to responding to this White Paper as soon as it is published, but no time estimate is given.
Also mentioned in Mr Philp’s speech, and recently announced by the Gambling Commission, is a set of new rules which will come into force on 12 September 2022. These rules are aimed at customer protection and are dependant on operator intervention.
They require operators to:
- monitor a specific range of indicators, as a minimum, to identify gambling harm. These indicators must include:
- customer spend
- patterns of spend
- time spent gambling
- gambling behaviour indicators
- customer-led contact
- use of gambling management tools
- account indicators
- flag indicators of harm and take action in a timely manner
- implement automated processes for strong indicators of harm
- prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonuses for at risk customers
- evaluate their interactions and ensure they interact with consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity
- evidence their customer interaction evaluation to the Gambling Commission during routine casework
- comply with these requirements at all times, this includes ensuring the compliance of third-party provider
Further guidance on this is expected to be issued in June.
These new rules follow closely to the customer interaction and social responsibility guidance already available, and build onto what is becoming a very prescriptive customer experience.
If you have any queries on the above please contact Amanda Usher ( Amanda@woodswhur.co.uk) or Andy Woods (email@example.com).