UKGC announces rules to halt irresponsible VIP practices

Operators must adhere to new VIP controls

The UK Gambling Commission has today announced a new set of measures that looks to stamp out irresponsible VIP customer practices by gambling operators.

These new rules, that include enhanced affordability and responsible gambling checks, come into force from tomorrow (31st October 2020) as a result of an extensive consultation regarding high-value customers, also known as VIPs.

What do gambling operators need to ensure going forward?

There are a number of new rules operators must follow before they allow a customer to join their VIP programme, these include: 

  • Operators must ensure that customers can afford to spend the amount of money they are as part of their leisure spend
  • Operators must look into potential VIPs betting history for signs of gambling related harm, or heightened risk linked to vulnerability.
  • Operators must ensure they have the correct data on potential VIPs relating to their occupation and source of funds.
  • Operators must continue to verify information provided to them, and regularly conduct ongoing gambling harm checks on VIP players to spot any signs of harm. 

The new guidance will also see operators appoint a senior executive to their organisation that holds a personal management licence (PMLs) to oversee their respective VIP schemes - making individuals personally accountable for any wrongdoings.

Gambling Commission aims to stamp out malpractice and misconduct

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer. 

"Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.

“We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70% since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year. 

"Whilst that is a sign of the positive impact our innovative approach to collaborative working can have, these new rules are designed to ensure progress continues to be made to protect vulnerable customers.

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes. 

"These new rules are part of the Commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”