Insights Remote Customer Interaction Guidance – Take Two

The Gambling Commission (“Commission”) has today published its revised customer interaction guidance for remote gambling licensees.

As subscribers to the Front Runner will know, we have provided many updates on the blog in relation to the way in which the Commission has sought to update the Social Responsibility Code Provision (“SRCP”) regarding customer interaction and the associated remote customer interaction guidance (the “Guidance”). By way of recap:

  • On 14 April 2022, the Commission announced a new requirement, SRCP 3.4.3, that would apply to remote operators only, and which was stated to take effect on 12 September 2022.
  • On 20 June 2022, the Commission published its new Guidance to accompany this new SRCP, which was also intended to come into effect on 12 September 2022, synchronously with the SRCP itself.
  • On 2 September 2022, the Commission suddenly announced that part of the new SRCP 3.4.3 and the entirety of the new Guidance, would then not take effect on 12 September 2022. The Commission’s press release suggested the regulator had acquiesced to the industry request for “an extension to the timeframe………. to conduct further consultation”. This delay led to real confusion as to what operators were actually required to do by 12 September 2022, which led to our publishing a clarificatory blog piece to provide some assistance.
  • As we have previously explained, the Commission then commenced a “further consultation” on 23 November 2022, with responses due by 23 January 2023.

Following the consultation that closed on 23 January 2023, the Commission’s revised remote customer interaction guidance will come into force on 31 October 2023. We had previously provided a detailed analysis of the proposed changes to the Guidance and note that changes to the Guidance from the previous version include:

  • Requirement 10: Operators will be required to prevent marketing and new bonus offers where “strong indicators of harm” are present. As we have previously written, the Commission does not define what strong indicators of harm are, and has rejected calls for it to do so in this latest consultation response. Instead, the Commission prefers to “allow some flexibility on the method of implementation”, invariably leading to discrepancy in the approaches that will be taken. This runs counter to the stated aim of Requirement 10 to create a consistent position across licensees”.
  • Requirement 11: As previously discussed here, we felt there were significant issues with the UKGC’s proposed guidance on SRCP 3.4.3 (11).  The new Guidance proposes a far more palatable alternative to manually reviewing all automated processes – namely that customers are informed of the automated process and offered an opportunity to contest the process. Where that happens, operators will be expected to manually review the automated decision.

We are reviewing the Guidance in greater detail and will be happy to speak to anyone about how this will affect existing policies and what changes need to be made prior to 31 October 2023.