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Consultation response

Remote customer interaction: Consultation Response

This response document sets out our conclusions and actions in relation to the consultation around remote customer interaction.

Introduction

The consultation and call for evidence received 971 responses. We also conducted a short survey alongside this process. This survey received 12,125 responses. We have carefully considered the responses to the proposals we consulted on and the call for evidence. We have conducted a programme of engagement throughout the consultation with consumers, those with lived experience of gambling harms, the industry, financial sector and other regulators.

Our existing requirements place a duty on remote operators to monitor gambling and take action where there is a risk of harm. We had identified in our casework that, while remote operators had the ability to interact with those being harmed, they were not always doing so or acting quickly enough.

We wanted to hear feedback about tougher rules to tackle this, such as requirements to take action when online operators know a customer is in a vulnerable situation and to put in place some automated solutions. We also called for evidence on the spending, time and other thresholds at which checks or action should be taken.

The proposals only applied to gambling online – not on tracks or in gambling premises – and are part of our ongoing work to improve consumer protections in online gambling.

We put forward proposals to strengthen our requirements or to clarify existing requirements and guidance in the following ways:

Proposal 1

Require operators to implement effective customer interaction processes and follow the overall process of identify, interact/ act and to evaluate.

Proposal 2

Require operators to monitor an account from the point of opening, to use a set of minimum indicators of harm, to require timely flagging of indicators of harm (including feeding in to automated solutions) and to clarify that operators are responsible for implementing these requirements even where there is a third party provider. We also proposed that there would be additional requirements for specific indicators put in place now (vulnerability and time) and in the future (unaffordable gambling).

Proposal 3

Clarify that an operator must take action in a timely manner when potential harm is identified, and tailor that action to the nature of the indicators. For indicators that the operator classes as ‘strong’, we proposed that this must include automated solutions.

Proposal 4

Require operators to evaluate the effectiveness of their approach on the individual customer and the overall effectiveness of their approach.

We proposed that operators continue to be required to take into account the customer interaction guidance for remote operators and invited comment on draft content for that guidance.

We have carefully considered the responses to the proposals we consulted on and the call for evidence. Many people think there should be protections in place for the most vulnerable and that appropriate checks should be in place to identify and prevent cases of clearly unaffordable gambling. Many respondents emphasised that measures should be proportionate and targeted at those at risk of harm. At the same time, customers were also concerned about privacy and freedom of choice. We take that seriously.

We have concluded that the proposals from the consultation should be implemented with some amendments to reflect issues raised during the consultation – this means that we are now introducing new stronger requirements on operators to identify customers at risk of harm and to take action. We have also concluded that a further consultation on the topics of the call for evidence remains appropriate. We have worked with Government to take account of the current Review of the Gambling Act 2005. We are continuing to work with the financial sector and the Information Commissioners Office in order to identify appropriate sharing of data to facilitate these assessments. As a result, we will consult on minimum requirements for operators to conduct assessments when customers reach set thresholds to tackle significant unaffordable gambling and identify customers at risk of financial harm. This will include detailed requirements on operators for the thresholds and to consult on the use of safeguards to ensure that the principles of data minimisation and protection against misuse are upheld.

We will also continue our wider programme of work in this space.

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Remote customer interaction - Next Steps
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Remote customer interaction - Proposal 1 - Overall requirements and process
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