Insights Gambling Commission sets new rules on action for at-risk customers

New rules ensuring online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect consumers at risk of harm have been introduced by the Gambling Commission. The new rules, which come into effect on 12 September 2022, are stronger and more prescriptive, requiring operators to:

  • monitor a specific range of indicators, as a minimum, to identify gambling harm;
  • 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; and
  • comply with these requirements at all times, which includes ensuring the compliance of third-party providers.

New guidance, which operators will be required to take account of, will be issued in June 2022 to help in understanding and complying with the requirements. The Commission says that it will engage with operators’ queries about the requirements following publication.

The strengthened requirements follow a consultation which was launched to address failings the Commission says that it continued to see among online gambling operators. Although capable of identifying customers who may be harmed by gambling, operators were not always doing so or acting quickly enough. The Commission received approximately 13,000 responses to the consultation and call for evidence. It says that all responses to the proposals were carefully considered to ensure that proportionate yet robust changes were made.

In the next phase of its programme of work to make online gambling fairer and safer, the Commission says that it will consult further on identifying customers who are financially vulnerable and tackling significant unaffordable gambling. Further updates will be provided when the consultation launches.

The Commission also says that it will continue to work closely with DCMS and take account of the Government’s Gambling Act Review. The Commission’s broader programmes of work, focused on identifying customers at risk of harm will also continue, including close engagement with the BGC and ICO on the “single customer view” pilot. To read the Commission’s announcement in full, click here.