Gambling Commission consults on remote key equipment changes
All online gambling businesses providing facilities for gambling have remote gambling equipment, known as “key equipment”. This is recorded in Schedule R of their Gambling Commission remote operating licence.
On 30 January 2020, the Gambling Commission published a consultation on the removal of the variation application and notification requirements in relation to key equipment. The consultation proposes that licence conditions 2.1.1 and 15.2.1(7) of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice be removed entirely so that operators will no longer need to notify the Gambling Commission of any changes to key equipment, either by way of a key event or an application to vary.
Currently, if a gambling business wants to relocate their key equipment to a different jurisdiction, they are required under licence condition 2.1.1 to apply to vary their remote operating licence. The key equipment must not be moved until the application has been granted and an amended remote operating licence issued, which can take several weeks. Additionally, where a gambling business moves key equipment within a jurisdiction, this must be reported as a key event under licence condition 15.2.1(7). The Gambling Commission’s rationale was so that it could physically inspect the key equipment; however, it has acknowledged this is rarely needed, particularly as many gambling businesses have moved to the cloud.
The requirements are complex, with most not understanding them, particularly when involving aggregation platforms and other suppliers. In many cases, Schedule Rs have 100s of entries and run to 10s of pages. Also, the requirements are hugely burdensome for operators and suppliers, often causing business disruption needing to wait for determination by the Gambling Commission. They are also burdensome for the Gambling Commission, with the effort required not reflected in the £25 application to vary fee.
Licence condition 2.1.2 will remain in place and will continue to allow the Gambling Commission to access remote equipment and/or request copies of data held on the equipment, which it considers is all it now requires. The consultation closes on 26 March 2020 and it is proposed that the changes should come into effect in July 2020. Responses to the consultation can be submitted here and we strongly recommend all online gambling businesses to respond with support for the Gambling Commission’s proposals.