Thursday, 2 April 2020

UKGC Announces New VIP And Responsible Gambling Rule Changes

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has this week announced several new rule changes.

The gambling regulator revealed this week that the new rules come under a collaboration with 30 casino operators and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). The changes come as part of a pledge to boost responsible gambling in the United Kingdom and make the activity safer. The rules see a crackdown on VIP schemes as well as changes that will affect how games are played.

According to the Commission, the rules, which were announced alongside the Commission’s 2020/21 business plan, affects three main areas and some measures may be implemented as soon as April 14th. The measures will see new restrictions that prevent people aged under 25 from being added to VIP schemes and other loyalty programmes.

The collaborative group has shared plans on new measures that will require all customers to pass checks relating to spend, safer gambling and enhanced due diligence before becoming available for VIP and loyalty schemes. In addition, rewards programmes will need to have full audit trails detailing decision making and accountability.

Additional measures the group are working on include a reduction on the intensity of playing casino games. The speed of spins in video slots will be slowed down and Turbo mechanics that speed up gameplay will be removed from all video slots in the UK. What’s more, a minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds will be implemented on all slots as well as the removal of split-screen features.

Measures may also see the introduction of in-game messaging as well as the creation and launch of a Betting and Gaming Council Testing Lab which will reportedly look into additional game features. The firm will reportedly analyse how said game features affect players and whether or not they encourage intensive play.

Finally, the group is looking to implement new measures that affect gambling advertisements which will need to be implemented by the industry by July 2020. The measures include using customer data to ensure that paid-for-ads are targeted away from vulnerable people, implementing an approach that advertisements are only targeted at those over 25 on social media, and age-gating ads on YouTube.

What They Say

Neil McArthur, the Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said in a statement: “We have been encouraged by the progress on VIP incentives, safer advertising and safer products. We set these challenges in order to deliver real and rapid change for consumers in key areas of risk. However, it is important these commitments are implemented as soon as possible. It should not take months to implement safeguards many would expect to be in place already.

“By working together with operators and seeking the views of people who lived experience of gambling harm we have been able to make significant progress, although there is always more to do. We will now consult on the necessary changes to our rule book to ensure all operators have to meet the new standards. Whilst we are encouraged by industry proposals for making gambling products safer we now call on operators to implement those proposals rapidly; but the proposals do not go far enough and we will now consider what additional measures we should impose on operators.”

Brigid Simmonds, the Chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, added: “I am pleased with our members’ hard work and continued commitment to delivering substantial progress on the three safer gambling challenges set by the Gambling Commission on high-value customers, advertising and game design. The progress reported today including restricting under 25’s from qualifying for high-value customer accounts; strengthened advertising rules and games with slower speeds and the removal of some functionality comes despite difficult operating circumstances during the COVID-19 crisis.

“These measures, along with our recently announced 10 pledge action plan for COVID-19 safer gambling and our 22 industry safer gambling commitments will significantly transform and improve the environment for our customers and the wider public. We agree with the Gambling Commission that there is still more work to do and we will rise to the ongoing challenge.”