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Gambling Commission to launch consultation on financial thresholds

| By Nosa Omoigui
The GB Gambling Commission has reiterated its commitment to creating a safer gambling market - but warned that many operators were falling short - during the Know Now Conference on Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators.
GC reaffirms commitment to safer gambling

In addition, the regulator announced that it will launch a new consultation about thresholds for financial risk.

The commission’s executive director Tim Miller warned operators during the keynote address that it will take action against those who don’t fulfil their duties with regards to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Miller said he believes “significant and substantial assessment” went into both online and land-based businesses in the previous year, although the novel coronavirus meant that remote assessments were often necessitated.

This has led to greater emphasis on remote customer interaction, which has become a point of focus in recent years, with the committee launching a consultation on the topic last year, for which Miller said a response will be published in the coming weeks.

Miller said: “We continue to see example after example of operators who have allowed people to gamble amounts that clearly place customers at risk of harm with very limited or no customer interaction until a very late stage.

“Just to be clear, we are not talking about grey areas here. We are talking about significant binge gambling or clearly unaffordable levels of gambling without action being taken. Can anyone seriously justify allowing a new customer to lose £10,000 within minutes without any checks or interaction?”

Miller went on to announce the Commission’s intention to introduce a consultation on thresholds to identify key financial risks. Major losses over a short period of time, a lengthy period of time, and general financial vulnerability were cited as the key components of such an action.

Whilst such issues would usually be reserved for the Gambling Act Review, Miller believes that inaction on the part of operators has forced the Commission to act sooner.

He said: “We are mindful of the fact that there is an ongoing review of the Gambling Act and do not plan to consult on issues that are rightly for that Review. However, operators are allowing consumers to be exposed to unnecessary risks now.

“The multiple failures to comply with our existing outcomes focused rules has forced our hand into bringing forward more prescriptive requirements to ensure that those longstanding regulatory outcomes are delivered.”

Miller went on to stress that the Commission’s duty is to permit gambling, but that operators won’t be allowed to put commercial gain above customer safety.

A recent survey carried out by the Commission in July found that customers had a limited knowledge of safer gambling tools available to them.

Miller also spoke of the importance of the Commission itself being held to high standards, highlighting the significant roles that chief executive Andrew Rhodes and newly appointed chair Marcus Boyle will have regarding that matter.

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