UKGC outline plans to ‘Stamp Out’ Irresponsible VIP Practices

The UK Gambling Commission yesterday outlined their plans to ‘stamp out’ irresponsible practices aimed at VIP customers by regulated UK iGaming operators. The UKGC have subsequently released new strict guidance for all UK licensed operators which must be adhered to.

The guidance entitled “High Value Customers: Industry guidance” which can be viewed in full here, has already been welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council, which numbers the likes of GVC Holdings the owners and operators of Ladbrokes Coral and Flutter Entertainment, owners and operators of Paddy Power and Betfair.

With the Betting and Gaming Council releasing a statement on their site supporting the move. BGC Chief Executive Officer Michael Dugher, commenting on the news from the UKGC stated: “The BGC, working with the Gambling Commission, has taken tough action on VIP accounts, including the introduction of a strict new code of conduct which has seen the number of players enrolled in them reduced by 70 per cent.”

“The code restricts anyone aged under 25 from taking part, while any customer considered for a VIP reward programme must first pass rigorous safer gambling checks and be subject to ongoing checks on their betting behaviour. “

Reward programmes must be overseen by senior management and conducted in a clear and transparent way to prevent any betting-related harm. Operators are also banned from incentivising customers based on losses.”

“This is further evidence of our commitment to driving up standards within our industry.”

As a result of the new guidance from the Gambling Commission which comes into force from 31st October 2020, all UK licensed operators must ensure that before changing the status of a customer to VIP, the operator needs to ensure that the level of spend by the customer is affordable and sustainable. Furthermore operators need to carry out responsible gambling checks on all customers being considered for VIP status. As part of this process, source of wealth checks are required to be carried out.

Commenting on the news, the Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur stated: “We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer. Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.”

“We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70% since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year. Whilst that is a sign of the positive impact our innovative approach to collaborative working can have, these new rules are designed to ensure progress continues to be made to protect vulnerable customers.”

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes.”

“These new rules are part of the Commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”

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Simon Wright

Simon Wright

Simon Wright has been both a player and an observer of the online casino industry for over 15 years. His knowledge of the online casino industry – to include sports is massive. Not many folks have the experience or his knowledge about online gambling. His adoration of football is also noted. He has painted his house blue (Chelsea) and annoys his neighbors with local football songs on game days.

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