New LCCP rules on ADR and customer interactions come into force today

As we have previously reported, two changes to the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice have come into force today, namely:

  • changes to provisions relating to alternative resolution providers (ADR) – in relation to which an up to date list of approved ADR providers can be found on the Commission’s website here – and
  • changes to customer interaction requirements (in relation to which see our further comments below),

with one further change (i.e. changes to how operators may contribute to research, prevention and treatment) coming into force on 1 January 2020.

Arguably the most immediately pertinent change is implementation today of the new customer interaction requirements, in relation to which the Gambling Commission’s:

(each of which can be downloaded below) have also both come into force today.

David Clifton has written recent articles on these new customer interaction requirements:

In addition, just over a month ago, David moderated the third in a series of WrB responsible gambling webinars, focusing on customer interaction and intervention. That webinar (entitled Categorizing different kinds of interaction and what they should look like”) can be accessed free of charge on the WrB Webinar Recordings webpage here.

The Gambling Commission has itself published on its website today a reminder of what it calls the “new rules to make gambling fairer and safer”, stating as follows:

New rules added to the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) will raise standards for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), strengthen requirements on how licensees identify and interact with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing gambling harms, and improve the transparency of funding for research, prevention and treatment.

The latest changes follow open consultations and will come into force later this year and next year.

Changes to alternative resolution providers (ADR)

Gambling businesses will now be required to use only ADR providers who meet the Commission’s additional standards as well as the requirements of the ADR Regulations.

The additional standards cover aspects such as customer service, decision making and governance. They make the role of an ADR provider clearer, improve consistency, and reassure consumers that a provider is independent of the gambling business.

These rules will come into force on 31 October 2019 and will affect all licences (including ancillary remote licensees) except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences.

Changes to customer interaction

The requirements on businesses to interact with customers at risk of or experiencing harm have been strengthened. The new requirements focus more on the outcomes of identifying and interacting with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing harms associated with gambling, as well as assessing the impact that a customer interaction has on an individual consumer and the effectiveness of businesses’ overall approach.

These rules will come into force on 31 October 2019 and will affect all licences, except non-remote lottery, gaming machine technical, gambling software and host licences. Read the guidance for remoteand non-remote operators on customer interaction.

Changes to how operators contribute to research, prevention and treatment

The Commission is committed to pushing operators to meet their responsibilities under the current voluntary arrangements for funding for research, prevention and treatment. The new rules will ensure that funds contributed by gambling businesses to meet the requirements of their licence are targeted at delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in Britain, by setting a list of bodies to which businesses can contribute.

The change will also support greater transparency of the amounts contributed by gambling businesses over time.

These rules will come into force on 1 January 2020 and will affect all licences.

See the Commission’s consultation response document for the exact wording and a full explanation of the background and nature of these LCCP changes.

Paul Hope, Commission Executive Director, said: “These changes have been designed to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers and we expect gambling firms to meet their responsibilities in these areas.”

UPDATE: As subsequently reported by us here, on 12 May 2020, the Gambling Commission published additional formal customer interaction guidance for remote operators during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the need for affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers.