More Delays in Gambling Harm Guidance

More Delays in Gambling Harm Guidance

There has been another delay in new guidance being implemented against gaming operators in the UK. Some of the guidance that was due to be introduced by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) this month won’t take place until at least February of next year.

The UKGC announced on September 2 that there will be some new guidance in Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.3 that will be enforced from this month. These had been published five months ago. However, the industry has asked for an extension to the time frame hence this new delay. The reason given was technical challenges that have arisen.

With this delay being announced, it means that operators will not be having to follow certain rules regarding indicators of vulnerability for their customers. There had been a call for swifter responses in these cases. Also, there will not be guidance yet that would see companies unable to send marketing information such as new bonuses to customers who have strong indications that they are suffering gambling harm.

Another area is on customer interaction for remote operators. That was published in June but instead plans have been outlined for a consultation on the guidance.

Some are now being enforced and this includes certain indicators being monitored. These will include the identification of gambling harm and then implementing automated processes for strong indicators of harm.

Commenting about the delays, the UKGC said that the majority of the new requirements will come into force on September 12. The consultation on guidance is likely to start at the end of this month and take a period of six weeks to complete. All the views that are received will be considered and then a decision taken on the contents of the new guidance.

The plan is for the guidance to be a “living document which is intended to be amended over time.” They are particularly interested in receiving information about “good practices in implementing the requirements, based on the lessons learned by operators during the period between April and September.”

Also, they want to hear about any “implications arising out of recent research, evidence and casework.”

At present, the UKGC says that the guidance on the requirements is likely to be published in December 2022. It would take effect approximately a couple of months after the publication date.

When the UKGC introduced the new rules in April of this year, their chief executive Andrew Rhodes said that “time and time again” some operators are not doing enough to prevent gambling harm. The new rules make their expectations of how operators should be behaving “even more explicit.”

He added that the UKGC would not hesitate to “take tough action on operators” to identify and tackle gambling harms with “fast, proportionate and effective action.” This year has seen several fines being issued, including a recent one of £17m for Entain.

Meanwhile the wait for the UK Government White Paper on gambling reform continues. With the new Prime Minister scheduled to be announced on September 5, the publication of that White Paper may be only weeks away.