UKGC opens consultation on VIP scheme customers

UKGC VIP Consultation

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has opened its consultation period to acquire views on gaming operators’ treatment of VIP scheme players. 

Prior to this consultation, the Commission had collaborated with numerous industry members to work on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm. 

To achieve the above, the UKGC has challenged the country’s gambling market to fulfill three areas – including more responsible online advertising. 

Last Friday, the governing body published a report looking at the progress that the industry has made since October 2019. 

Enhancing the safety of high-value customers 

Earlier this year, the Commission mentioned that it was considering a ban of VIP gambling schemes. 

The UKGC wants three particular areas to be made safer, which are below. 

  • Incentives for high-value customers (HVCs), often referred to as VIPs. 
  • Game and product design. 
  • The use of ad-tech to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults online. 

The UKGC’s consultation period aims to address two key HVC areas, too. 

  • Their heavy engagement with gambling products through spend or frequency.
  • The disproportionate value of HVCs to licensed operators.
Possible changes could become permanent and mandatory 

An industry group led by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and GVC Holdings has been putting together a voluntary HVC code. This requires operators to perform complete assessments for each customer before incentives can be offered. 

In addition to the above, licenced operators must maintain audit trials that relate to their HVC reward programmes. Players aged 24-years-old are also ineligible for such schemes. 

The UKGC has said the following about the consultation, which ends on 14th August 2020. 

“As HVCs are a subset of the wider customer base, licensees should already be applying regulatory controls concerning customer protection and due diligence. Much of what we are proposing in this consultation will not represent an additional burden to compliant licensees.

“Communicating clearly how existing and additional requirements specific to HVCs should be applied will give a clearer basis for the Commission to enforce minimum standards. That should result in higher standards of customer protection and reduce the incidence of gambling-related crime.”