Gambling Commission “raises the bar on social responsibility”


Accompanied by a message that “Britain’s gambling industry can do much more to make gambling safe”, the Gambling Commission has published:

  • a document entitled “Strengthening social responsibility” (that you can download below) setting out proposed amendments to the social responsibility provisions in its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice for all operators, and
  • updated LCCP containing all such amendments (which will come into full force and effect on 8 May 2015).

This development follows a major social responsibility review by the Commission conducted by way of a consultation between August and October 2014. The new amendments to the LCCP include requirements that:

  1. operators’ employees must be able to supervise customers effectively on gambling premises and they must have arrangements for identifying customers who are at risk of gambling-related harm, if they are not displaying obvious signs
  2. operators’ policies and procedures for customer interaction must include “specific provision for making use of all relevant sources of information to ensure effective decision making, and to guide and deliver effective customer interactions, including in particular ….. specific provision in relation to customers designated by the licensee as ‘high value’, ‘VIP’ or equivalent”
  3. larger operators must conduct test purchasing to make sure that their systems for preventing underage gambling are working
  4. by April 2016, land-based operators must have in place schemes that allow a customer to make a single request to self-exclude from all operators of a similar type within their area – typically where they live and work (the Commission is also working with industry representatives to develop a national online self-exclusion scheme, which should be in place in 2017)
  5. measures are employed to ensure that marketing and advertising is socially responsible, including a requirement that the marketing of “free bet” offers is open, transparent and not misleading.
  6. online operators must provide “time-out” facilities, so that players can take a break from their gambling, and offer players the ability to set a timed on-screen check to help them review their spend and possibly stop playing.

More will follow. Philip Graf, Chairman of the Commission said:

“The work we have done through the review represents a significant strengthening of the social responsibility measures in the LCCP. But we have reached the point at which it is clear that much more could be achieved if anonymous gambling in cash was not such a prominent feature of land-based gambling. Removing anonymity of course raises its own challenges and it is time for a proper public debate on the costs and benefits of doing so.”

UPDATE: Picking up on item numbered 2 above, David Clifton moderated a panel session at KnowNow’s Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators conference in January 2018 that posed the question “How serious is high-roller problem gambling?”. You can read more about that panel session here.