Customer interaction guidance for remote gambling operators: Consultation Response
Topic 1: The overall format, structure and language of guidance
The consultation proposed that guidance would be structured into the following 4 main sections:
- Overarching customer interaction processes
- Identification of customers at risk of harm
- Take action for customers at risk of harm
In relation to each requirement, the document would adopt the following structure:
- reminder of the LCCP requirement
- an explanation of the aim of that requirement
- guidance which must be taken into account
- any additional information which would be made available but not required to be taken into account.
Language such as 'must' or 'the Commission expects' would be used in contexts where the guidance is intended to reflect the requirements of Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision 3.4.3.
Language such as ‘should’, would be used to denote an approach or action that is not required by Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision 3.4.3, but which gambling operators would be required to consider.
- To what extent do you agree that guidance should include additional information which may assist operators but which they are not required to take into account?
- Do you have any comments on the overall structure, language and format of the proposed guidance document?
Responses on the format of the guidance were broadly positive, including that it was clear and easy to understand and that the format was straightforward. Some respondents said the document was well-structured, where others highlighted areas for improvement. Suggestions from respondents included parts they considered would be better suited to be included in Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision 3.4.3 itself (rather than guidance) and particular areas where they considered that the guidance should be more explicit. These issues are explored further in relation to Sections B, C and D of the proposed guidance.
Responses concerning the language of the proposed guidance document were mixed. A number of respondents said the guidance document should be very clear on what ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘could’ means, although they did not highlight specific examples where they considered the draft guidance used inappropriate language. Some of the responses centred not on the guidance document itself, but on what their experiences might be undergoing regulatory compliance processes, such as compliance assessments. We have ensured that relevant departments within the Gambling Commission are aware of the nature of these responses.
Respondents' views on the use of additional information were split, with a very small majority preferring that it would be included.
As stated in the Gambling Commission’s Statement of Principles for Licensing and Regulation, ‘the Commission will generally use the least intrusive regulatory tool to achieve compliance and will ensure that any regulatory action is proportionate to the importance of the matters to which it relates, having regard to its risk assessment'.
We consider that the principle of issuing guidance which gambling operators must take into account remains appropriate, meets the test of the least intrusive regulatory intervention required to meet the policy aims, and is designed to be helpful to gambling operators at this time.
We have decided to retain the overall structure of the document: Overarching customer interaction processes, Identification of customers at risk of harm, Take action for customers at risk of harm and Evaluate. We consider this structure to be helpful to sit alongside the requirements of Social Responsibility (SR) Code 3.4.3.
We have reviewed the use of language in the guidance and ensured that we consistently apply 'must' language when quoting or referring to the requirements, and use 'should' language when referring to guidance which must be taken into account.
We have decided that the guidance document will include additional information to assist gambling operators. In order to address comments by respondents about clarity, we have taken steps to ensure that such content is clearly marked. The alternatives would be either to remove content which we consider may be helpful, or to include it as content which gambling operators are required to take into account. Neither of these alternatives were considered the best solution - we did not consider removing all content which may be helpful to gambling operators to be desirable, and we also did not consider it desirable to elevate all such content to a level where it was required to be taken into account. We have therefore retained some of the additional information sections and marked clearly that these are not required to be taken into account.
We have changed the numbering in the guidance document to a solely numbered format rather than the previous number and letter, therefore, for example 1A becomes 1.1. This was to avoid any confusion when referencing to paragraphs in the guidance and requirements in the provision itself.
Topic 2: Introduction and Section A of the guidance – overarching content
Last updated: 18 August 2023
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