Raising standards for consumers: Enforcement report 2017-2018

Raising standards for consumers: Enforcement report 2017-2018

by Bahar Alaeddini, Partner

by Bahar Alaeddini, Partner

The Gambling Commission recently published its long-awaited Raising standards for consumers: Enforcement report 2017-2018. The report, which is the first of its kind, focused on the Commission’s enforcement work under the Gambling Act 2005 over the past year. The report “aims not just to review the past year but to also be an industry facing publication building on [the Commission’s] casework and bringing together…published lessons and guidance. It is intended to help ensure compliance and raise standards.” Licensees were warned that if they failed to adhere to Commission guidance (in the report and its public decision notices) they could expect enforcement action “more swiftly and with greater penalty”.

The key areas of regulatory concern highlighted in the report are:

• anti-money laundering;
• customer interaction;
• self-exclusion;
• unfair terms and practices;
• marketing and advertising; and
• illegal gambling.

The report refers to the “vital role” the Commission’s enforcement work plays in “ensuring standards are raised through targeted actions that drive a culture in which operators”:

• Set the tone from the top and lead a culture of compliance and commitment to doing the right thing for consumers that resonates with staff.
• Strive to continuously raise their standards and at all times treat customers fairly.
• Resolutely work to reduce the risk of harm from gambling.
• Invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play, incorporate protections, intervene early to guard against consumer harm and prevent crime.
• Innovate to protect as much as for profit.
• Actively identify and manage risk and evidence this at every stage.”

Helpfully, the report provides details of key updates over the past year, key lessons, case studies and health checks. Licensees are strongly encouraged to read the report and use it as the basis to conduct self-checks, an internal review and risk assessment.