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12/05/2020

Gambling Commission guidance on customer interaction during Covid-19

Subject: Betting, gaming and lotteries: Great Britain

Source: Gambling Commission

 

The Gambling Commission has published data showing the impact that Covid-19 is having on consumers and the industry so far. The data shows that during lockdown gambling participation is down overall, reflecting the closure of land based venues and the cancellation of sporting events. However, evidence shows an increase in the use of certain gambling products such as online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports. The data also shows that in terms of time spent gambling, while overall session length has decreased, there has been an increase in the number of sessions that are played for over an hour.

The Commission has in the light of the data issued new guidance for online operators. Included in the guidance is the need for affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. The additional guidance requires operators to:

  • Prevent reverse withdrawal [ facility to reverse a decision to withdraw funds from a gaming account] options for customers until further notice;
  • Cease to offer bonuses or promotions to all customers who are displaying indicators of harm;
  • Interact with customers who have been playing for an hour in a single session of play;
  • *Review thresholds and triggers for new customers to reflect the operator’s lack of knowledge of that individual’s play and spend patterns;
  • Conduct affordability assessments for individuals picked up by existing or new thresholds and triggers which indicate consumers experiencing harm - limiting or blocking further play until those checks have been concluded and supporting evidence obtained, and;
  • Implement processes that ensure the continual monitoring of their customer base.

Online operators will be expected to make changes to act on this guidance as soon as possible. The Commission will bring forward plans to consult on whether further targeted player protection measures are required on a permanent basis. 

 

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