Metrics Monthly | October 2020 | AU Edition

Gambling sector spotlight UK Gambling Commission hint at Affordability Consultation

The UKGC has issued strict guidelines on how gambling operators should manage their VIP schemes. The Commission identified these VIP schemes as an area that would require change, following a consultation which saw ‘high value’ customers provided with gifts or preferential services in an aim to increase their custom, without enough consideration of their spend- ing abilities. The last paragraph of the guidance was just as telling, with more than a hint of the likely announcement of a consultation around customer interaction which will heavily focus on ‘affordability’. One would expect this to be a public consultation if a customers’ views are to be taken into account and the area of affordability is likely to generate one of the largest responses to this consulta- tion. This comes hot on the heels of the

192-page ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action’ report, produced by The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, and the 81-page ‘Gambling Review and Reform’ report produced by the SMF (Social Market Foundation), both released this summer. Roll on to Autumn and two heavy- weights have joined the tsunami of opinion demanding gambling operators to regulate further. Downing Street has reportedly taken control of the upcom- ing review of gambling legislation, due to be launched within weeks, amid a growing appetite for sweeping reform of the industry from Boris Johnson and his closest advisers. The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is expected to kick off the long-awaited review this Autumn but well-placed sources said Boris Johnson and his closest advisers were now steering the plans. ‘The PM

just sees it as people being exploited and it’s not him’, said one MP with inti- mate knowledge of discussions within Whitehall. The Guardian was quoted as saying ‘Johnson’s closest adviser Dominic Cummings and Munira Mirza – Director of the No.10 policy unit – have both taken a personal interest in a push to overhaul the 2005 Gambling Act’. Around the same time as this Downing Street intention, came the announce- ment that a group of some 150 peers from within the House of Lords will undertake a review of gambling indus- try safeguards , duties and customer protections, seeking to inform the gov- ernment about urgent changes to gam- bling regulation. ‘Peers for Gambling Reform’ (PGR) will be Chaired by Lord Foster of Bath (Liberal Democrat). Vice Chairs of the Group will include Lord Smith of Hindhead (Conservative), Bar- oness Armstrong (Labour), Lord Butler (Crossbench) and the Bishop of St Albans.

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October 2020 | AU Edition

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