The Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) have published consultations which provide detail on a number of topics raised in the Gambling Act Review white paper.
Gambling Commission Consultation
The Gambling Commission published consultation on:
- Improving customer choice on direct marketing. The Commission is consulting on introducing a new LCCP requirement to provide customers with options to opt in to the product type they are interested in, and the channels through which they wish to receive marketing.
- Strengthening age verification in premises. The Commission is consulting on removing the current exemption from carrying out age verification testing for the smaller operators, and changing the Code Provision to require staff to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25, rather than under 21. They are also seeking views on how licensees make sure they have effective age verification where their premises may not be directly supervised.
- Remote game design. The Commission is consulting on changes to the Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards, and proposing to reduce the speed and intensity of online products whilst making them fairer and increasing consumer understanding about game play. The Commission is proposing a 5 second minimum game speed, which targets the fastest versions of non-slots products. They are also proposing that features which can speed up play are removed. The proposals include a technical update to the Remote Technical Standards security requirements to reflect the 2022 version of ISO27001.
- Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk. The Gambling Commission is consulting on new obligations on operators to conduct checks to understand if a customer’s gambling harm is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances, in the form of the financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments. The Commission proposed new codes for these financial and vulnerability checks, or affordability, in the customer interaction section of the LCCP.
- Extending Personal Management Licence requirements. Although not in the white paper, the Commission had previously mentioned that they would be consulting on changes to the Licence Conditions regarding Personal Management Licence holders to clarify and extend the roles captured by the definition of specified management officers under Licence Condition 1.2.1.
- Changes to regulatory panels. Again, not in the white paper, but previously mentioned by the Commission. They are consulting on changes to the composition and decision making processes of the Commission’s regulatory panels.
The Gambling Commission consultation closes on 18th October 2023.
DCMS Consultation on land-based gambling
The DCMS published consultation on measures relating to the land-based gambling sector:
- Relaxation of casino rules. The consultation deals with the proposal for 1968 Act casinos to potentially increase the number of their gaming machines to 80, and permitting betting in all casinos.
- Machines in arcades and bingo halls. This is the proposal to remove the ratio of 80%/20% governing the allocation of gaming machines within bingo venues and Adult Gaming Centres – the proposal is designed to better meet customer demand and save on energy costs.
- Cashless payments on gaming machines. These are proposals to futureproof the industry by consulting on the player protections needed to remove the prohibition on the direct use of debit cards on gaming machines.
- Introduction of a legal age limit of 18 for certain gaming machines. This is the proposal to prohibit under 18s from playing on Category D slot machines that pay out in cash.
- Licensing Authority fees. The consultation on ensuring Licensing Authorities have the funding they need to carry out their licensing and enforcement duties in respect of premises licensed on land-based gambling under the Gambling Act 2005.
The DCMS land-based consultation closes on 4th October 2023.
DCMS online slots consultation
The DCMS is also consulting on proposals for a maximum stake limit for online slot games, the deadline for this consultation being 20th September 2023.
The proposals consider 4 options for the maximum online stake limit: £2 per spin, £5 per spin, £10 per spin and £15 per spin.
In addition, specifically in relation to 18-24 year olds, who evidence suggests may be a particularly vulnerable demographic, the consultation proposes a maximum online stake limit of £2 per spin, £4 per spin or not introducing a specific statutory stake limit for 18 to 24 year olds, which will mean they would be subject to the limits outlined above for the general populace but, instead, introducing specific requirements on operators to consider age as a risk factor for gambling related harm which could justify a range of mitigations, including limiting access to higher staking opportunities on a case by case basis.
To support the effective implementation of the policy, the consultation includes definitions of “online slot games”, “maximum stake” and “spin / game cycle”. The proposals to help ensure that the correct products are regulated.
As you will all appreciate, there is much for us in the industry to discuss!
Further detailed discussion on the topics will follow in further eNews bulletins.
Links to the consultations are below: