Gambling Commission sets out new VIP measures in industry challenges update

By Iqbal Johal

The Gambling Commission has set out new measures to improve the way VIP schemes are offered by operators.

There has been plenty of criticism of the high-value customer scheme, with the Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) calling for it to be banned, earlier this week.

However, in the Gambling Commission’s update to the progress of its industry challenge initiative, its said the incentives scheme does have a place in the industry but must be offered in a consistent manner and if this can’t be assured, such incentives shouldn’t be offered.

The initiative, which followed collaborative work with different industry experts, set out measures to make faster progress in raising industry standards, in relation to VIP incentives, responsible product and game design, and online advertising.

Chaired by GVC and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), actions to make sure VIPs are offered in a responsible way, include the undertaking of regular full customer assessments before offering any incentives or rewards. A senior board member will be held accountable for how the schemes work and they will be conducted with consistent and transparent practice to prevent gambling harms.

The commission believes the measures could address the VIP challenge, if implemented quickly to the Licence Code and Conditions of Practice (LCCP), which it said should be done so within three months.

Once in place, the commission will measure their effectiveness through assessments and monitoring systems. The commission is now seeking views on the proposed VIP changes.

A working group led by Sky Betting and Gaming into gambling marketing to children, young people and vulnerable adults, recommended steps including ensuring paid-for-ads are targeted away from the aforementioned groups, only targeting those aged 25 and over, and age-gating YouTube channels and content.

The measures will be adopted as soon as possible and enshrined in the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, by July.

Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur, said: “In these unprecedented times caused by the impact of COVID-19, we have pushed the industry to make necessary changes to keep consumers safe from harm and we have seen that changes can be made speedily.”

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