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GC extends gambling-harm consultation deadline due to high engagement

| By Richard Mulligan
Great Britain's Gambling Commission has extended the submissions deadline for its remote customer interaction consultation due to high engagement since its launch last month.

Opening on 3 November, the Commission-led consultation on affordability and intervention is calling for views and feedback from consumers, people with lived experience, industry and other stakeholders on stronger requirements on online operators to identify consumers who may be at risk of gambling harm, and the preventative actions they should take. This includes improved affordability checks and actions for vulnerable consumers.

With high engagement since the consultation opened last month, the Commission has extended the call for evidence deadline by four weeks to 9 February.

A spokesperson said: “This extension will allow more time for detailed feedback and the strongest evidence base possible from consumers and other stakeholders.”

In announcing the consultation last month, the Commission said while operators already have the capability of identifying customers who may be harmed by gambling, evidence suggests the industry has not used this sufficiently to reduce harms. It is therefore keen to gather feedback on how to improve these processes.

As such, the regulator has proposed that operators should be required to act on the information they have about a consumer’s potential vulnerability. The Commission also aims to have licensees introduce stronger requirements, including defined affordability assessments at thresholds set by the regulator.

It is looking to gather stakeholder opinion on what these thresholds for the affordability assessments should be, as well as the nature of these checks and how operators are required to protect consumers after an assessment.

Though the consultation will is open to all stakeholders, the Commission said it will place a particular focus on consumers. It wants to gauge how operators should identify vulnerability, as well as gambling that is unaffordable, and the circumstances when to take action on behalf of consumers.

“We are clear on the need for gambling companies to take further action and that the Commission must set firm requirements to set consistent standards,” Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller said at the time.

“But we want to have an open discussion with the gambling industry, consumers, people with lived experience and other stakeholders, to ensure we strike the right balance between allowing consumer freedom and ensuring that there are protections in place to prevent gambling harm.”

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