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UK LEGAL COMMENT Kzenon/Adobe Stock


• personal account management/dedicated point of contact with the licensee, or


• individualised bonuses, benefi ts, or gifts. Right away it is clear that the restrictions will apply


differently to different operators, as they will vary widely in terms of the proportion of customers they apply “enhanced customer service” to. The Commission has long asked operators to get to know their customers as individuals, but its proposals will penalise those who apply individualised account management to more of their customers. Some of the key restrictions which will apply to those classed


as VIPs include: • Conducting affordability checks, to establish the customer’s spend level is “affordable and sustainable as part of [their] leisure spend” and being cautious of a one-off windfall


• Assessing whether there is evidence of gambling related harm, or heightened vulnerability (which may be personal, situational or behavioural)


• Applying EDD to all VIPs, including gathering evidence of identity, occupation and source of funds. This could involve not just third-party checks, but gathering documentation


from customers such as bank statements and pay slips


• Offering enhanced information on gambling management tools and an active choice whether to set account limits


• Regularly reviewing each VIP’s suitability to receive incentives, and


• Taking action to restrict or terminate personalised incentives if a VIP’s play or spend exceeds their usual habits, in the absence of a supporting explanation. The draft guidance would also prevent staff from being incentivised or remunerated based on a customer’s loss, spend or activity, putting paid to commission-based bonus schemes for VIP account managers. The Gambling Commission’s consultation exercise closes on


14 August 2020 and the new requirements are likely to come into force in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. Even if implemented as currently drafted, the new guidance


is very unlikely to satisfy the APPG and others in government who would like to see much stricter limits placed on gambling in the UK. Other matters are more pressing for the government right now, but the VIP issue will form a key part of the debate on a new Gambling Act during the next couple of years.


Melanie is a gambling regulatory lawyer with 13 years’ experience in the sector. Melanie advises on all aspects of gambling law including licence applications, compliance, advertising, licence reviews and changes of control. She has acted for a wide range of gambling operators including major online and land-based bookmakers and casinos, B2B game and software suppliers and start-ups. She also frequently advises operators of raffl es, prize competitions, free draws and social gaming products. Melanie has a particular interest in the use of new technology for gambling products and novel product ideas.


JULY 2020 33


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