Rules come into effect in Sept.

UKGC introduces new consumer protection guidance for iGaming businesses ahead of rules change

Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes.
2022-06-22
United Kingdom
Reading time 2 min

After the United Kingdom's Gambling Commission announced in April new rules to ensure online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect consumers at risk of harm, a new consumer protection guidance has now been published to help them comply with the changes coming into effect in September.

The new guidance provides further information for remote gambling companies on issues such as identifying vulnerable customers, indicators of harm such and their importance, when to use automated systems and processes, and how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions. 

Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes spoke about this new guidance and said: “Operators must take account of this guidance ahead of the stronger requirements coming into effect. We are giving the industry time to prepare for the changes and expect full compliance by September."

"Every gambling business has a role to play to prevent gambling harm and this guidance makes clear what we expect to see, which will be supported with enforcement action should we need it," he added. "In the current context, including the rise in the cost of living, it is more important than ever for operators to meet these requirements to identify customers at risk of harm.”

The regulatory body will start giving operators direct instructions on how to ensure consumers are not harmed in the upcoming rules, taking a prescriptive approach instead of leaving it up to them to decide how to do so, such as: 

  • monitor a specific range of indicators, as a minimum, to identify gambling harm;
  • flag indicators of harm and take action in a timely manner;
  • implement automated processes for strong indicators of harm;
  • prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonuses for at risk customers;
  • evaluate their interactions and ensure they interact with consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity;
  • evidence their customer interaction evaluation to the Gambling Commission during routine casework;
  • comply with these requirements at all times, this includes ensuring the compliance of third-party providers.

The new guidance is part of the UKGC’s ongoing drive to make gambling in Britain safer, the regulator says. The Commission will shortly be launching a further consultation on the ways to tackle three key financial risks for consumers: binge gambling, significant unaffordable losses over time, and risks for those who are financially vulnerable.

This is part of a wider programme of work by the Commission to drive and support industry best practices in identifying customers at risk of harm and taking action. This programme of work also includes supporting the development of an industry-led solution to the Single Customer View challenge through the Information Commissioner’s sandbox process, and working with the gambling industry to evaluate the approach they develop; and working with the industry on best practice algorithms to identify harm and ensure compliance with the requirements. 

Existing guidance, and additional guidance issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, will still apply and be available for operators to refer to until September 12.

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