On 29 November 2023, the Gambling Commission launched its Autumn 2023 consultation (the “Autumn Consultation”). It is the Gambling Commission’s second consultation addressing its commitments within the White Paper, following the Summer 2023 consultation.
The Autumn Consultation sets out five proposed changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”) and Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (“RTS”), several of which were foreshadowed in the Gambling Commission’s Advice to Government in April 2023. These include:
- Socially responsible incentives
The Gambling Commission wants to make changes to ensure that incentives such as free bets and bonuses are constructed in a socially responsible manner and do not encourage excessive or harmful gambling. Proposals include banning or limiting (to a maximum of 1, 5 or 10 times) the use of wagering requirements in promotional offers and banning the mixing of product types (e.g. betting, bingo, casino and lotteries) within incentives for new and existing customers, as well as updating social responsibility code provision 5.1 of the LCCP to make it explicit that incentives should be constructed in a manner that does not lead to excessive or harmful gambling.
- Customer-led tools
The proposals include amendments to the RTS to ensure customers can seamlessly use pre-commitment tools (such as deposit limits) to maintain awareness and control over their gambling. The Gambling Commission is also seeking stakeholder views on: (a) minimising friction in the customer journey when they choose to use customer-led tools; and (b) cross-operator deposit limits, the prospect of which is sure to be a key area of focus in industry responses.
- Improved transparency on customer funds in the event of insolvency
The Gambling Commission is seeking to improve the transparency of operators who have a ‘not protected’ rating (under the Gambling Commission’s rating system) in relation to customer funds. It proposes an addition to the LCCP, to require licensees to remind customers, no more than once every 6 months, that their funds are not protected in the event of insolvency throughout the customer relationship.
- Changes to the frequency of regulatory returns
As we previously discussed, the Gambling Commission is proposing to amend the LCCP to require all regulatory returns be submitted on a quarterly basis.
Notably, the Gambling Commission states it will continue to engage with industry on the “final specification of fields for reporting” outside of the consultation process. We understand that this will be conducted through the Gambling Commission’s User research programme shortly, which we explained in a recent blog.
- Removing obsolete Gambling Commission requirements due to the Government’s upcoming statutory levy (LCCP RET list)
Running alongside the Government’s consultation on the statutory levy, the Autumn Consultation proposes to remove the current requirement to make an annual financial contribution to fund research, prevention and treatment (“RET”) from the LCCP, once the statutory levy is introduced or at the beginning of the financial year in which the levy is introduced.
For further information about the statutory levy (and the Government consultation), please see our recent blog.
Other industry updates
The Gambling Commission explains that it is currently analysing the responses to its Summer 2023 consultation, which closed on 18 October 2023, and will release “one or more responses” to that consultation in 2024. It will also be launching another consultation on two “business as usual” matters shortly. This will include proposals addressing the clarity and transparency of the Gambling Commission’s calculation of financial penalties as well as licensees’ reporting of financial key events.
The Autumn Consultation will be open for 12 weeks, closing on 21 February 2024. Responses can be submitted online, or by post to the Gambling Commission’s Policy Team.
We strongly encourage all licensees and stakeholders to review and respond to the Autumn Consultation. Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss this matter further or require our assistance preparing responses.