The UK Gambling Commission has issued an update on the introduction of its new remote customer interaction requirements and guidance. The regulator has also advised gambling operators to consider the contents of the announcement, as the body has now shifted the date on which some requirements will come into force and a consultation has been announced.
In April this year, the Gambling Commission published a set of new requirements to ensure companies do more to identify customers at risk of harm – Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.3 – and guidance to assist operators to comply with the requisites followed in June. Both the requirements and the guidance were due to take effect on September 12.
While the regulator notes the industry requested an extension to the timeframe for implementing these requirements – due to the technical challenges some companies indicated they are facing in delivering full compliance by the deadline – it has now decided that the majority of the new requirements will still come into force as planned, on Sept. 12.
“Remote gambling operators are already subject to a duty to conduct effective customer interaction, and the new requirements reflect the minimum steps that we consider are necessary to meet that duty,” the UK’s gambling regulator noted. However, the UKGC has also decided that certain requirements will not be brought into effect in September.
These now excluded provisions include a requirement to take timely action where indicators of vulnerability are identified and to take account of the Commission’s approach to vulnerability as set out in the UKGC’s guidance; and a requirement to prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonus offers where there are strong indicators of harm.
“In light of this extension, the Commission considers that it would be beneficial to use the time now available to conduct further consultation on matters to be addressed in the guidance associated with SR Code 3.4.3, by way of a consultation on the guidance document itself,” the UKGC said. “Therefore, the requirement to take into account the Commission’s guidance on customer interaction for remote operators will also not be brought into effect in September.”
The UK gambling regulator said the guidance is “a living document” that is intended to be amended over time. As part of the consultation, the body will be “particularly interested” to hear about good practice in implementing the requirements, “based on the lessons learned by operators” during the period between April and September, and to hear about “any implications arising out of recent research, evidence and casework.”
“Consultation is likely to be launched during late September and will last six weeks,” the UKGC said. “All views expressed in response to this six-week consultation will be carefully considered before a decision is taken on the contents of the guidance on the new requirements.”
Subject to consultation, the Commission’s provisional intention is to publish the guidance on the requirements “in December 2022,” with it taking effect approximately 2 months after publication. “In the circumstances, we consider this will allow the industry a reasonable period to consider the guidance before it takes effect,” the Gambling Commission noted.
“It is the Commission’s intention, subject to consultation, to bring the remaining requirements of SR Code 3.4.3 and the associated guidance into effect on February 12, 2023,” the regulator concluded.