Commission Enters Consultation on Gambling Affordability

Commission Enters Consultation on Gambling Affordability

November marks the beginning of the British Gambling Commission’s launch of a brand-new consultation.

The consultation aims to garner opinion on the introduction of more stringent requirements for online betting companies to identify those who potentially pose a risk to themselves because of gambling-related harm.

Vulnerability to be Assessed

The Gambling Commission’s consultation officially launched on Tuesday, November 3, and calls for feedback from stakeholders all around the sector and customers on their proposal to harden how licensed operators are to act on any information they receive about a customer’s potential vulnerability.

In outlining what the consultation aims to achieve, the Gambling Commission has said that while its operators do already possess the ability to identify those who may be at risk of problem gambling, there is growing evidence to suggest that the industry has not used such ability to reduce harm.

Therefore, the Commission is eager to gain more feedback on improving these processes and procedures.

With that in mind, the Commission is proposing that gambling companies should, in the future, be required to act quickly on information they have or receive about any player’s potential vulnerability.

Gambling Affordability Also on the Agenda

The regulator is also aiming as part of the consultation to have firms introduce tougher requirements when it comes to defining affordability assessments. They should set affordability thresholds, it says.

The Commission seeks to pull together opinions from every corner of the industry, those on what affordability threshold assessments should look like, and how the checks should be carried out, and how licensees are asked to protect their players after assessment.

While this consultation will be open to all stakeholders in the industry, at least those the Commission considers to be stakeholders in the first place, the regulator says it will put a certain amount of its focus on consumers.

The GC wants, it seems, to be able to gauge how its operators identify the potential vulnerability of players, along with what it considers unaffordable and the circumstances that warrant when to take action on behalf of the players in question.

Miller Speaks About Action

The Gambling Commission’s chief exec, Tim Miller, spoke out upon the consultation’s launch to say that his organisation is very clear on the need for gambling companies to take more action. Miller also says that the Commission is aware it must set firm requirements to set consistent standards.

In addressing stakeholders on what to expect, the chief executive also said that the regulator wants to have open discussions with those in the industry and customers and people who have practical experience of such problems.

This is to ensure that it finds the right balance between customer freedom and the need to have protection in place to avoid gambling-related harm. The new consultation begins from November 3 and will carry on through to January 12, 2021.

2020 has already seen the Commission publish advice on how companies should be interacting with players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October, the Commission added new license conditions to their agreements with GAN, BGO, and NetBet following failings in their social responsibility and anti-money laundering controls.

After investigations, BGO faced a £2million payment towards implementing the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in lieu of a fine, with NetBet contributing £748,000 and GAN a further £146,000.

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