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Vulnerability statement

Our approach to identifying and supporting vulnerable consumers throughout the customer journey


Consumers in a vulnerable situation

'When consumers are in a vulnerable situation, they may be significantly less able to understand the risks of gambling and the terms and conditions; and they may be at higher risk of experiencing negative outcomes from gambling.'.

This statement is provided for information, for details of specific requirements refer to our Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).

This statement is intended to provide a summary of the Gambling Commission’s approach to identifying, supporting and protecting consumers who are in vulnerable situations.

It brings together information from existing Commission policy and guidance documents to help provide consolidated information about how we take account of consumer vulnerability in our work. It is intended to help gambling businesses, gambling consumers, the general public, and other regulators and organisations understand our approach and expectations.

As the gambling regulator for Great Britain, our duties are to aim to permit gambling, provided we are satisfied it is reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives which are to:

  • prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

We have a responsibility to work with partners to help identify, design and implement the right mix of controls to be applied by gambling businesses to prevent harm for all consumers and vulnerable groups or individuals.

This statement references the Commission's explanation of what we mean when we discuss vulnerability, provides information about our approach to building understanding of factors which may make a consumer more vulnerable to gambling harm and explains how we set requirements for gambling businesses to support, identify and protect vulnerable consumers.

We will continue to assess the insights and evidence concerning consumer vulnerability and may make changes to our approach over time.

In developing our approach to consumers in vulnerable situations, we have reviewed the work of other United Kingdom (UK) regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Ofcom, Ofgem, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We have considered the work of international organisations such as the European Union (EU) and international gambling regulators. We continue to review their approaches to supporting consumers in vulnerable situations and build on existing and emerging good practice.

The Gambling Commission faces some different challenges when considering the support that gambling consumers in vulnerable situations may need. For many other regulators, the primary concern is to ensure that consumers receive support in order to access services – for example, to support financially vulnerable consumers to access financial services like bank accounts, or to support consumers who use vital electrical medical equipment during a period of electricity outage.

It is important that gambling businesses consider accessibility. However, gambling consumers who are in a vulnerable situation may require different forms of support – more information about gambling risks and ways to stay safe, support to manage and limit their gambling activity, support to cease gambling through self-exclusion, and relevant action by gambling businesses to limit or prevent direct marketing and gambling on behalf of the consumer.

Nonetheless, there are common principles across domestic and international regulators about building understanding of vulnerability, considering how to support consumers at each stage of the customer journey and ensuring that businesses act with appropriate levels of care.

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Vulnerability statement - What do we mean by vulnerability?
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