Betting and Gaming Council to Release VIP Guidance to Members
The recently formed Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced that they will be introducing a code of practice around operators treatment of VIP players and accounts. While full details are not yet known, It is believed that the trade organisation will call on members to justify these accounts by performing source of wealth checks.
New rules will mean that members will not be able to offer hospitality to players who are deemed at being at risk from gambling-related harm as well as staff members no longer being able to benefit financially for either attracting or retaining VIP players.
The code of practice will also prohibit a player who has previously chosen to self-exclude from receiving specific products or service but details of what these products has not been released at the time of writing. Self-excluded players will also automatically be prevented from holding VIP or loyalty accounts, those that hold them will see their accounts closed.
Members of BGC, which include bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC, Playtech, Rank, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill, will also be required to closely monitor these VIP accounts and ensure that they have regular safer gambling interactions with their customers.
Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council, Brigid Simmonds OBE, said the new code of practice would ensure the “highest standards” and would protect VIP customers but re-iterated that the content of the new code was not yet finalised, saying;
We will be consulting with operators, the regulator, charities and other stakeholders on the new code.– Brigid Simmonds, Betting and Gaming Council chair
VIP accounts have been singled out by UK regulator, the Gambling Commission, its 2018-19 enforcement report. In that report, the Commission said it had reviewed numerous cases in which individuals have demonstrated gambling-related harm and yet have been able to continue to gamble without effective engagement.
The Commission also said it recommended that operators revisit their framework on triggers and consider their customer base and their disposable income levels as a starting point for deciding benchmark triggers.
In the enforcement report, the commission was highly critical that an operator had conducted a ‘keep in contact visit’ at the customer’s home address while they were in a period of self-exclusion and made arrangements for the provision of credit to the customer for use online. In the case study included in the report, the UKGC said the bookmaker had also failed to record customer interactions and make use of all available information when assessing whether the customer was showing signs of problem gambling.
Bosses at many of the UK’s most well-known online gambling brands faced questions by the All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group in September. In those hearings, William Hill’s MD told the committee that his company had closed 30% of its VIP accounts as part of their drive to reduce gambling-related harm.