The Gambling Commission is consulting on proposed changes to the existing framework for test houses that play a key role in ensuring that games are suitable to be released to market and offered to consumers. The “Consultation on test houses framework development” can be downloaded below.
The Commission says that:
- it needs to be assured of the “independence, competence and suitability” of test houses,
- “successful delivery of the strategy will require collective effort and engagement from a wide range of stakeholders”, and
- it wants “as many people and organisations as possible to have a voice in shaping the strategy and the arrangements needed to deliver it”.
Described by the Commission as “part of [its] continued focus on raising standards across the industry”, the consultation focuses on four main areas, the Commission adding comment as follows:
We gain assurance from the type of accreditation held by test houses. We are proposing the following changes to the accreditation arrangements:
- We will only accept accreditation from those that are tested to the revised framework.
- Some individual role-holders within the test houses acquire personal accreditation.
We want to understand who has influence over test houses so that we have confidence they are impartial and independent from the industry. We propose that:
- Companies and individuals that have business influence require our approval.
- Changes to the ownership and/or structure of the test house are notified to us immediately.
- Once a test house is approved, there are limited instances when they are required to notify us of changes and there are no timescales related to these notifications. We propose to introduce:
- Immediate reporting notifications.
- Annual reporting requirement.
Revocation of test house approval
Once approval is gained, it remains in place until such time as the test house relinquishes approval. We propose to:
- Introduce a framework which enables us to remove or suspend a test house’s approval.
Currently (a) there are 15 approved test houses, 11 of which are based overseas and acquire their accreditation by non-UK accreditation bodies and (b) the Commission’s approval process focuses on the overall suitability and competence of a test house to carry out its functions. Further information is available on the Commission’s website here. Once approved, a test house is required to report only on regulatory investigations, changes in organisational structure and loss of accreditation.