BGC enters Phase 2 of the SCV Regulatory Sandbox

The Regulatory Sandbox is a service developed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’), to support organisations that are creating products and services which utilise personal data in innovative and safe ways.

In November 2020, the Gambling Commission was accepted into the Regulatory Sandbox, the aim of which was to (a) establish whether there is an appropriate lawful basis under Article 6 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (‘UK GDPR’) that allows for the sharing of behavioural data between online gambling operators via a Single Customer View (‘SCV’), including the examination of existing legal gateways, and (b) consider the processing of special category personal data and the appropriateness of Article 9 conditions for processing under the UK GDPR.

In October 2021, the ICO published its Regulatory Sandbox Phase 1 ‘outcome report’, resulting in the Gambling Commission publishing its update on the Single Customer View (‘SCV’) Industry initiative, as reported by us in our website posting entitled ‘UKGC expects the industry to expedite trials of its Single Customer View solution’.

The ICO has now confirmed that the Betting and Gaming Council (‘BGC’) have entered Phase 2 of the Single Customer View (SCV) Regulatory Sandbox. The ICO’s website states as follows:

Betting and Gaming Council

As the largest UK operators, Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) members Entain, William Hill, 888, Gamesys, bet365 and Flutter have agreed to trial a solution for the sharing of data sets from participating gambling operators. The BGC are committed to driving change and raising standards to prevent the impact of problem gambling which can have a significant impact on those affected.

The aim of the trial is to facilitate fast, proactive intervention and to prevent incidents of problem gambling. The proposed mechanism will ensure that if customers have multiple accounts with different operators, then the operators will be able to compliantly share data. This will allow them to identify and help manage problem gambling behaviour.

BGC will work with the ICO, with close engagement from the Gambling Commission on regulatory considerations, to understand the data protection considerations for a viable solution. They will look to identify the appropriate lawful basis for processing data and the safeguards required, particularly where that data is special category. BGC and participating operators are committed to ensuring the personal data of customers is used in a proportionate and appropriate way to identify harm and welcomes the opportunity to explore these issues with the expert steer of the ICO.

Commenting on this, the Gambling Commission has tweeted as follows:

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have confirmed that the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have entered Phase 2 of the Single Customer View (SCV) regulatory Sandbox.

This follows on from an update we published last October that outlined the findings from Phase 1 of the Sandbox, which sought to establish a lawful basis to allow for solution trials to begin. We will maintain regular engagement with the BGC and the ICO as this next phase progresses.

We are keen to see how the industry proposes to meet the challenge we set in 2020 of achieving a reduction in gambling related harms by taking a holistic view of customer activity across operators.

We now look forward to the industry moving swiftly to pilot solutions and then working with them to evaluate the approach they have developed. More information about the next phase of the Sandbox can be found on the ICO’s website.

In his December 2020 keynote speech at the 9th Annual GambleAware Conference, Gambling Minister Chris Philp MP spoke about the SCV initiative, stating:

Like GAMSTOP, a single customer view (SCV) solution will protect a person, not just their account with one operator.

It is of course vital that any data sharing is done safely, securely and proportionately. I am glad the Commission has worked closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office which has now confirmed that a single customer view can be delivered with these values at its core.

We know data sharing is well established in financial services. I know there are representatives from industry in the audience today, so I want to be clear in my message; now is the time for you to pick up the gauntlet and work closely with both regulators to develop a system that works.

Of course, the opportunities presented by data are wider than just sharing between operators. You will all be familiar with Public Health England’s evidence review on gambling-related harms, which is an invaluable contribution to the evidence base for our ongoing Review. But as the Minister responsible for gambling, PHE’s findings made clear to me that we have more work to do to understand the drivers of gambling disorder.

An important part of the solution is improving the quality of data that the Gambling Commission as regulator, we as government, but also researchers and clinical experts, have access to – which can in turn inform the best possible policies and approaches. I see great promise, therefore, in the development of a Data Repository as a pillar in our work to fill the gaps that still exist in our understanding.

This will of course need to be complemented by the appropriate analytical expertise, so as part of the Review, we are exploring the scope for more investment in data capability within the Gambling Commission. They need powers to regulate the enormous and innovative gambling industry, including the ability to requisition and analyse bulk account-level data from operators to identify whether they’re doing what they’re supposed to under their licence conditions.

More recently, on 21 March 2022, during a House of Commons debate on the subject of ‘Jack Ritchie: Gambling Act Review’, the Minister commented further on the subject of the SCV, as a result of which it can be anticipated that the forthcoming Gambling Act Review White Paper will include more detail on the proposed increased use and quality of data that it appears operators may be obliged to supply to the Gambling Commission. He said:

One area where we can go is using data. I mentioned that online gambling is one of the areas that carry higher risk, unlike betting at a racecourse, for example, which carries a risk, but a significantly lower one. Data should and will enable the Gambling Commission to do a much better job at identifying what the operators are really doing and getting a complete picture of whether they are intervening when people’s gambling patterns of behaviour indicate that there is a problem, which clearly did not happen in Jack Ritchie’s case.
I take the point about the single customer view that the hon. Member for Sheffield Central made. We are watching that extremely carefully and will be commenting further on that in the White Paper. I also take his points about timing and about the need for it to be effective and appropriately overseen and governed.