On the 31st October 2016 a new version of the LCCP comes into force to implement changes which are being brought in on the back of recent consultations. The Gambling Commission is keen to point out on its website that the LCCP are not static but “evolve over time” which I suspect is similar to the way that operational policies evolve and develop at gambling establishments throughout the UK. It is interesting to note on the Gambling Commission’s website that the LCCP evolve so as to take into account developments in the industry, emerging evidence or the most effective means of promoting socially responsible gambling. I am of the firm view that this also applies to operators and their operational policies, which have to continually change to take into account recent developments. I do not subscribe to the argument that just because policies have to change all the time means that they were not fit for purpose prior to the policies being changed. I suspect there will be more on this topic in later articles!!
The Autumn 2016 amendments are based on the recent consultations and relate to the following: the prevention of crime associated with gambling, placing digital adverts responsibly, extending the requirement to assess and manage money laundering risk to non-remote lotteries and controlling where gaming machines may be played in betting, bingo and casino premises.
The Gambling Commission website also reports the results of various cases in which enforcement action has been taken recently. Smart TV Broadcasting Limited had its Operating Licence made the subject of a review under Section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 and under Section 118 of the Act the Gambling Commission decided to suspend it because it suspected that Smart TV was unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities. At the time of the suspension there were customers who had outstanding balances in their accounts and subsequent to the suspension Smart TV Broadcasting Limited surrendered its licences. The Gambling Commission have confirmed that this does not prevent the settling of outstanding winning bets.
It was also confirmed on the 10th of August 2016 that the Gambling Commission has supported South Wales Police in an operation which led to ten people being arrested as part of an investigation into match fixing. The match fixing related to betting patterns on a match between Port Talbot Town and Rhyl on the 9th of April. No further information is available due to the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation.
The implementation of the new LCCP coupled with the Gambling Commission continuing to take enforcement action, should serve to reinforce the fact that all operators in the UK must keep fully up to date with all changes and be fully aware of exactly what is required in terms of their operational policies.