GC licence changes for player protection come into effect

31 October 2019

Changes to the GB Gambling Commission's Licence Conditions and Codes of Pratice (LCCP) that aim to raise standards for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and consumer interaction have come into effect today (31 October).

When the changes were first announced earlier this year, Commission executive director Paul Hope said they would make gambling fairer and safer for consumers, and warned operators they would be expected to comply in full with the amendments.

Under the Gambling Commission’s new rules, licence holders now must fulfil additional obligations in dealing with customers at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.

The 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.

The customer interaction changes will affect all licences except non-remote lottery, gaming machine technical, gambling software and host licences.

In addition, gambling businesses will now have to meet the Commission’s additional standards for ADR rather than just the requirements listed in the national ADR regulations for all industries, including stipulating that license-holders must work only with providers approved by the regulator.

Under the new standards, ADR providers must recognise that compensation for customers should reflect emotional or practical harm, rather than being a punishment for a business, and must consider areas beyond financial loss. In addition, compensation must be solely determined by the ADR provider unless appealed in court.

ADR providers must also make information available to customers on whether they will reconsider the outcome of a dispute after the outcome has been issued, the circumstances in which this could take place and the timeline for such a process.

The new rules also specify that an ADR provider must provide transparency on how it is funded and how it is independent, as well as publishing its performance data. In addition. they must also acknowledge receipt of customer contact within three working days and provide an update to customer every 30 days that the dispute is ongoing.

ADR providers who do not meet these standards will not be considered approved providers for gambling license holders.

The Gambling Commission said the changes will improve consistency and clarity over the role of such a provider. These changes will affect all licences with the exception of gaming machine technical licences and gambling software licences.