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Second Gambling Act review consultation round opens

| By Marese O'Hagan
The GB Gambling Commission has launched its second set of consultations on proposals from the Gambling Act review white paper.
affordability checks white paper

The second set of consultations will run for 12 weeks, implying a deadline of 21 February 2024.

This second round will focus on five topics. Earlier this month, Tim Miller, executive director of research and policy at the Commission wrote that seven topics will be up for consultation “in the coming weeks”.

Today (29 November) the Commission has confirmed that five of these topics will be included in the second round of consultations. These are:

  • Socially responsible incentives, specifically bonuses and free bets
  • Customer-specific tools, which would give customers greater control of their gambling habits, including setting deposit limits
  • Increasing the transparency of customer funds, if the funds are held by companies that do not have protection against insolvency
  • The requirement to make annual contributions to Research, Prevention and Treatment (RET)
  • Regulatory data

“The white paper set out that a top government priority is ensuring that gambling happens safely,” said Miller today. “We share this commitment and today’s consultations propose how we can deliver on it. We need as many people as possible to have their say on any potential changes to the rules operators must follow.

“These views will ultimately help shape gambling regulation across the country.”

Bonuses and free bets have been a headline topic for discussion since the white paper was published in April.

Further consultation for financial penalties and key reporting

The Commission confirmed that a further consultation will take place to discuss calculating financial penalties and financial event key reporting. The Commission classified these as “business as usual” matters.

In his blog post this month, Miller said that the consultation process for calculating financial penalties “will include measures to ensure that penalties are set at a level where the costs of non-compliance outweigh the costs of compliance”.

“Our enforcement activity has ramped up in recent years and we are proposing changes to the way in which we calculate the penal element of financial penalties imposed following a breach,” he wrote.

For financial event key reporting, the Commission aims to change its current rules to bolster its risk-based regulatory approach.

How did the white paper lead to these consultations?

The Gambling Act white paper outlined 60 areas for the Commission to consult upon.

The first set of consultations opened in July and closed in October. That round focused on financial risk and vulnerability, online games design, enhancing customer choice on direct marketing and improving age-verification in land-based premises.

Mandy Gill, director of compliance at the Commission, said that more than 3,000 submissions were made for the first consultation round.

Financial risk checks – also known as affordability checks – were undoubtedly the most controversial topic in the first round. They have been hotly debated up and down the industry since the white paper’s publication.

Earlier today a petition opposing affordability checks hit 100,000 signatures, meaning that it will now be considered for a debate in parliament. The petition was created by Nevin Truesdale, CEO of The Jockey Club.

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