Betting companies to monitor high-spending ‘VIP’ gamblers under new rules

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A spinning roulette wheel - (Copyright PA Wire)
13:21pm, Wed 30 Sep 2020
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Betting companies will have to make sure high-value gamblers are spending sustainably under new guidance aimed at cleaning up “VIP customer” schemes.

The Gambling Commission has introduced new guidance for companies after repeated instances of failing to protect high-value and high-spending customers known as VIPs.

These customers are often provided with bonuses, gifts, hospitality and special treatment from operators in an effort to keep them betting.

In a move seen as a last chance for the gambling industry in terms of VIP schemes, the regulator said the guidance should stop irresponsible incentivisation if followed.

If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes

From October 31, operators must establish the spending is affordable and sustainable as part of the customer’s leisure spending and have up-to-date information on the gambler’s identity and source of funds.

Operators must also assess the risk of gambling-related harm or if there is a heightened risk because the gambler is vulnerable.

They will also need to conduct ongoing gambling harm checks on each person to spot signs of harm.

Companies will also need to appoint a senior executive to personally be responsible for their scheme and its impact.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer.

“Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations.

“If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes.

The BGC, working with the Gambling Commission, has taken tough action on VIP accounts, including the introduction of a strict new code of conduct

“These new rules are part of the commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction of strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher said: “The BGC, working with the Gambling Commission, has taken tough action on VIP accounts, including the introduction of a strict new code of conduct which has seen the number of players enrolled in them reduced by 70%.

“The code restricts anyone aged under 25 from taking part, while any customer considered for a VIP reward programme must first pass rigorous safer gambling checks and be subject to ongoing checks on their betting behaviour.

“Reward programmes must be overseen by senior management and conducted in a clear and transparent way to prevent any betting-related harm. Operators are also banned from incentivising customers based on losses.

“This is further evidence of our commitment to driving up standards within our industry.”

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