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GC again reminds industry of responsibilities under lockdown

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The British Gambling Commission has urged “extra operator vigilance” in Great Britain’s latest novel coronavirus (covid-19) lockdown and said it expects operators to again follow the guidance issued in March 2020.

In a letter from chief executive Neil McArthur (pictured), the regulator said that more caution was required as people will be spending more time at home, and many may be “isolated and vulnerable”. Some players may gamble more, or for the first time, it noted.

It added that the fact that elite sport will continue means customers will have more betting options than in the previous lockdown.

As a result, it said it expected operators to follow the initial lockdown guidance.

This included instructions to identify customers who may be at risk of harm, interacting with these customers and understanding the impact of this interaction. In addition, operators were told to review their thresholds for interaction and ensure they were appropriate given the changed financial circumstances many players would be facing.

The guidance also called for “ processes that ensure the continual monitoring of your customer base”, as well as an end to reverse withdrawals.

For the new lockdown, the Commission has told operators to not just make these direct interactions, but also to interact more generally through methods such as safer gambling emails.

The Commission also urged operators to “avoid any temptation to exploit the current situation for marketing purposes and be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell products”.

It added that operators must take “particular care” when onboarding new customers, and said decisions related to affordability checks for these customers must “reflect the environment we are in”.

The regulator will continue to publish reports based on operator data to show how gambling activity has changed under lockdown.

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