New Rules on VIP Schemes
The Gambling Commission has announced strict new guidance for operators around ‘VIP schemes’ – stating that if the guidance is followed there should be no irresponsible incentivisation of high value customers in the future.
The Commission identified VIP schemes as an area for change and challenged the industry to work together to address the issue through an industry code of conduct.
Following an extensive consultation, all operators will now need to follow new guidance on these schemes – which see ‘high value’ consumers provided with tailored bonuses, gifts, hospitality and preferential service from an operator designed to maintain or increase their custom.
Before any operator makes a customer a VIP, from 31 October it must:
- Establish that spending is affordable and sustainable as part of the customer’s leisure spend
- Assess whether there is evidence of gambling related harm, or heightened risk linked to vulnerability
- Ensure the licensee has up to date evidence relating to identity, occupation and source of funds, and;
- Continue to verify the information provided to them and conduct ongoing gambling harm checks on each individual to spot any signs of harm.
The new guidance also means operators will appoint a senior executive who holds a personal management licence (PMLs) to oversee their respective scheme – making individuals personally accountable.
In the coming weeks, the Commission will be launching a consultation on customer interaction which will include the assessment of affordability, identifying vulnerability and how to take early preventive and reactive action when there are risk indicators. It will also shortly respond to a consultation on safer online game design.