Gambling Commission to boost player protection with licence changes

7 August 2019

The GB Gambling Commission has announced a number of changes to its licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) in a move it said will help make gambling fairer and safer for players.

The new rules will seek to raise standards for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), strengthen requirements on how licensees identify and interact with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing gambling harms, and also improve the transparency of funding for research, prevention and treatment.

The latest changes follow open consultations and will be introduced in batches, with the first set of rules set to come into effect this October.

In terms of ADR, gambling businesses will now be required to use only ADR providers that meet the Commission’s additional standards, as well as existing ADR regulations.

The new standards relate to customer service, decision-making and governance, with the Commission saying they will make the role of an ADR provider clearer, improve consistency and reassure consumers that a provider is independent of the gambling business.

New ADR rules will come into force on October 31, 2019 and apply to all licences, with the exception of gaming machine technical and gambling software licences.

Meanwhile, changes to customer interaction requirements will mean operators must now focus more on the outcomes of both identifying and interacting with players who may be at risk of or experiencing harms associated with gambling. This includes assessing the impact that an interaction has on a consumer and the effectiveness of its overall approach.

These changes are also effective from October 31 and will cover all licences apart from non-remote lottery, gaming machine technical, gambling software and host licences.

In addition, the Commission is pushing all operators to meet responsibilities in terms of their voluntary funding for the research, prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm.

From January 1, 2020, new rules will ensure that funds contributed by operators are targeted at helping to deliver the Commission’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in Britain. The regulator will soon publish a list of bodies that operators can commit funds to as part of the new rules.

“These changes have been designed to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers and we expect gambling firms to meet their responsibilities in these areas,” the Commission’s executive director, Paul Hope, said.