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Gambling Commission issues new mandatory guidance for online operators

New customer interaction requirements for online sector due to increased risk of harm during Covid-19 lockdown

“Social Responsibility code provision 3.4.1 of the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requires that licensees must take into account the Commission’s guidance on customer interaction.

The Gambling Commission has today issued new guidance for online operators, which has been developed in response to the Commission’s analysis of the impact that COVID-19 is having on consumers and the industry during lockdown.

The Commission has stated that whilst there is no evidence to suggest an increase in problem gambling, the shift on the market as a result of COVID-19 shows an increase in the use of certain gambling products, such as online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports.

The new guidance provides that online operators must take account of changes and should:

  • Prevent reverse withdrawal options for customers until further notice;
  • Cease to offer bonuses or promotions to all customers who are displaying indicators of harm;
  • Interact with customers who have been playing for an hour in a single session of play;
  • Review thresholds and triggers for new customers to reflect the operators lack of knowledge of that individual’s play and spend patterns;
  • Conduct affordability assessments for individuals picked up by existing or new thresholds, and triggers which indicate consumers experiencing harm and limiting or blocking further play until those checks have been concluded and supporting evidence obtained; and
  • Implement processes that ensure the continual monitoring of their customer base-identifying patterns of play, spend or behaviours that have changed in recent weeks.

Operators are expected to make the necessary changes to ensure compliance with the above requirements as soon as possible.

Details of the guidance on customer interaction can be found here.”

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