As we have previously reported, in 2015 the Gambling Commission introduced an Annual Assurance Statement (AAS) pilot process to obtain assurance from gambling operators (restricted to those with a gross yield from gambling of over £25 million per annum) that they “actively embed the objectives of the Gambling Act 2005 and the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) into their business processes”. Last year (2018) was the final year of a three-year pilot AAS scheme.
For those larger gambling operators that are required to submit an AAS in 2019, the Gambling Commission has now published the 2019 versions of its:
- Assurance statement template Business to Customer (B2C) and
- Assurance statement template Business to Business (B2B)
that you can also download below in pdf format.
According to the Commission, the Word versions of the AAS (accessible via the above links) have been designed to “provide a structure to populate, as well as explanatory notes, and have been made available in a format that can be manipulated to enable tailoring of the layout as required”.
The Commission further states as follows on its website:
What are assurance statements for?
Assurance statements are designed to improve the focus on, and accountability for, the delivery of the licensing objectives by the boards, or equivalent senior leadership structures, of large gambling businesses.
The statements are intended to be a relatively concise self-assessment of the risks to the licensing objectives posed by the business, how well you are managing those risks, where you need to improve and how you intend to do so.
While we will hold you to account for what you say in your statements, the main beneficiary of the statement is you, the operator.
Assurance statements provide a means for your board to provide constructive challenge within the business on the effectiveness of your governance and risk management arrangements in facilitating positive consumer protection, addressing gambling-related harm and crime prevention measures.
Good governance and risk management is the foundation of high performing organisations.
Actively manage your risk
We want you to embrace the challenges of the regulatory landscape by actively and effectively managing your risks and issues and to inform key business decisions. In turn, we are committed to a proportionate and risk-based regulatory regime.
If you hold the licensing objectives at the heart of your decision-making, supported by good governance, risk management and a high level of compliance at all levels, and do this in an open and cooperative manner, your business is less likely to present a risk.
If this approach is successful, as we believe it will be, and over time more and more operators incorporate the licensing objectives into their corporate culture, the need for external regulatory scrutiny may well diminish.
The precise governance arrangements of organisations will vary depending on the size, nature and complexity of your operations or on the gambling services you provide. We will take this into account when we receive and review your assurance statements.
The timescales applicable to this year’s AAS are as follows:
- 13 December 2019 – Deadline for 2019 submission
- December 2019/January 2020 – Gambling Commission to review and analyse all AAS submissions
- January 2020/February 2020 – one-to-one feedback call with licensees on their AAS submission
- February 2020/March 2020 – AAS evaluation interviews
- April 2020 – workshops
Affected operators who have questions about the AAS process or about the template are invited to contact the Gambling Commission by email:
- at firstname.lastname@example.org or
- to Simon Hartley at email@example.com or
- to Mandy Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org.