Commission Extends Gambling Harm Consultation
The UK’s Gambling Commission has decided to push the deadline for submissions to its consultation on remote customer interaction in the territory owing to a higher-than-expected response after its launch in November.
The consultation, led by the regulator, opened on November 3 and concentrated on gambling and intervention affordability and asked for feedback and opinion from gambling customers, people with experience of gambling problems, and industry stakeholders.
Those being questioned are asked about stronger online operators’ requirements to identify players who may well be at risk of gambling-related harm. The study also points at what can be done in terms of preventative action while improved affordability checks for vulnerable customers are also on the cards.
Consultation Deadline Shifted, Operators Need to Improve
Encouragingly, engagement with the Gambling Commission regarding this consultation has been very high. Due to this, the regulator has extended its call for evidence by a month from early January to February 9.
The extension to the consultation and its call for evidence now gives more time for detailed feedback to be analysed and allows the study to gain its conclusions from a stronger evidence base.
Operators under the Gambling Commission’s auspices already possess the ability to identify customers who may be at risk of gambling harm, but recent evidence has suggested that those within the industry have not always used their ability well enough to make a positive impact. Feedback on potential improvement is therefore very necessary now.
The Commission is pointing at their operators’ relative lack of action in the past regarding vulnerable customers. The regulator is also aiming to encourage operators to introduce stronger requirements, including absolutely defined affordability assessments at thresholds set by the Gambling Commission itself.
Stakeholders to Help Decide Thresholds
The Gambling Commission, which to be very fair, has done more than most regulators around the world to improve security in its territory over the past few years, is now looking to gain insights via industry stakeholder opinions.
Those opinions will include what operators themselves believe the affordability thresholds should be, along with how the associated checks should take place, and finally, how gambling companies should be expected to protect their customers after assessments have been completed.
Regulator Not Losing Focus on Consumers
While as usual there is much talk and a lot of focus on how operators will be involved in this consultation, the Gambling Commission has been at pains to remind us all that there will be a sharp focus on feedback from customers.
The regulator, it appears, wishes to gather information on how its operators should accurately identify any vulnerability within customer bases while also ensuring that gambling is affordable along with knowing how and well operators will take action on behalf of players.
The Commission seems to be clear on the need for gambling operators to take action, while the regulator itself knows it has to set clear requirements and consistent standards.
The current consultation aims for the Gambling Commission to have a very open discussion with those in the gambling industry, the sector’s customers, people with what they call “lived experience,” and other stakeholders.
This is all to make sure a balance is struck between allowing players the freedom to enjoy gambling while putting protections in place to prevent harm.