UKGC to apply new rulebook on Customer Care duties

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced new rules that will require all licensed online gambling operators to actively identify and directly intervene with at-risk/harm players. 

Coming into effect from 12 September, remote operators must monitor a “specific range of indicators as a required minimum to identify gambling harms“.

New guidance will be issued to operators by June, outlining the Commission’s required actions on customer care duties, player monitoring and business accountability.

An overhaul of customer care duties is required to address ‘continued failings by licensed operators’, in which the Commission stated that operators were capable of identifying at-risk customers, but too many were slow to intervene before further harm had taken place.

Operators have been warned that they must be prepared to ‘flag indicators of harm and take action in a timely manner’.

Technical provisions will require operators to ‘implement automated processes’ to record indicators of player harm, and to ensure that ‘marketing engagements are prevented with at risk customers’

Customer care duties will require operators ‘to evaluate their interactions’ and engage with ‘consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity’.

Record-keeping was outlined as an essential element, as operators must be able to provide evidence of their customer interaction evaluation to the Commission during routine casework.

The regulator’s Chief Executive, Andrew Rhodes, said: “Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm. These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit.

“We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so.”

Rule changes on customer care duties form part of the Commission’s ongoing programme to make Britain the safest and fairest gambling market for consumers.

The Commission will continue to follow its programme of work, in which it moves onto the next phase of better identifying customer affordability and financial harm.

Concluding its update, the Commission stated: “We will continue to work closely with DCMS and take account of the Government’s Gambling Act Review. Our broader programmes of work, focused on identifying customers at risk of harm will also continue, including close engagement with the BGC and ICO on the ‘single customer view’ pilot.”

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