Changes to information requirements in the LCCP, regulatory returns, official statistics, and related matters
- Changes to information requirements in the LCCP, regulatory returns, official statistics, and related matters
- Executive Summary
- Part 1: Summary of responses - Changes to information requirements for licensees: Consultation Response
- Part 2: Summary of responses - Changes to information requirements for licensees: Consultation Response
- Annex - Summary of changes to licence conditions and codes of practice
Proposal 13: Changes to licence condition 15.3.1 (general and regulatory returns)
We proposed to amend licence condition 15.3.1 (general and regulatory returns) to simplify the requirement, to reduce the time we allow for submission of annual returns and to harmonise reporting periods across the industry.
We currently allow licensees 28 days to submit quarterly regulatory returns and 42 days to submit annual returns. We proposed to reduce this requirement to 28 days for both types of return to:
- simplify reporting processes for operators with multiple licences and/or licensed activities
- reduce the time it takes us to publish aggregated industry data.
Currently, licensees have flexibility to choose their own reporting periods for regulatory returns. These are generally based on their accounting year or the anniversary of the granting of their operating licence. This variation in reporting period dates complicates our internal processes and impacts on the quality of industry statistics. We propose to change this, so that reporting periods are harmonised across the industry, with unified submission dates.
We also proposed to incorporate requirements transferred from ordinary code provision 8.1.1 (1), reinforcing our expectation that licensees inform us of any matters that we would reasonably need to be aware of in exercising our regulatory functions.
Question 1.13. Do you agree with the proposed changes to the licence condition?
A number of respondents queried the proposal to elevate elements of ordinary code provision 8.1.1 (1) into licence condition 15.3.1, specifically the need to report to us 'any matters that the Commission would reasonably need to be aware of in exercising its regulatory functions'. The terms 'any matters' and 'reasonably be aware of' were considered too broad, with the latter not specific enough to form the basis of an offence. For these reasons, several respondents suggested that the requirement remain an ordinary code provision, where it has been already successfully used in enforcement proceedings. Others proposed that such requirements should be reported to us as a key event.
In relation to licence condition 15.3.1, the proposal to harmonising reporting periods across the industry was generally supported. Respondents commented that the proposal would aid the production of more accurate industry data and would simplify the administration for licensees that held multiple licences. Some respondents requested that the regulatory return due dates were scheduled to avoid busy periods, such as horse racing festivals and end of year accounting periods.
There was some concern as to whether 28 days provided sufficient time to prepare accurate annual returns and could impose increased burden on licensees. In relation to harmonised reporting periods, it was suggested that a simpler approach would be to require all returns to be submitted quarterly, with the added benefit of this enabling more frequent and accurate publication of industry statistics.
A couple of respondents commented that licensees be given the flexibility to determine their own reporting periods to better enable them to manage their resources to comply with their various other financial, regulatory, and business reporting obligations. There was a suggestion that a change of reporting periods would lead to 'additional costs', such as the need for repeated external auditor visits to audit financial accounts and regulatory returns. A licensee queried whether the eServices system would be stable enough to allow all licensees to submit their regulatory returns at the same time, should reporting periods be harmonised. Another operator queried whether an Application Programming Interface (API) would be made available to make submission of data easier for licensees.
Considering the general support for harmonising reporting periods across the industry, we will proceed with implementing this change. The new industry-wide reporting periods will be:
|Type of return
|1 April to 31 March
|1 April to 30 June
|1 July to 30 September
|1 October to 31 December
|1 January to 31 March
We recognise that the transition to the new reporting periods will cause some initial disruption to those licensees impacted, but we consider this is proportionate to the change required. In the case of charities holding society licences, for example, their annual regulatory returns contain no financial data and are much smaller than the other types of returns we collect. We also commit to work with industry representatives to implement the changes in a manner which will limit any disruption it may cause.
Having reviewed the comments relating to our proposal to reduce the submission window for annual regulatory returns from up to 42 days to within 28 days, we acknowledge that some licensees will struggle to meet this reduced timescale. We note, particularly, the concerns put forward by several trade bodies about this change. Taking these views into account, and in the interests of ensuring accurate data submissions, we have decided to maintain a 42-day submission window for annual returns, for the time being.
We stopped providing downloadable paper-based regulatory returns forms some time ago and we therefore proposed to update the footnote to licence condition 15.3.1 to reflect this. We did not receive any objections to this, so we will make the amendment.
We did receive one comment about the stability of the eServices system and a suggestion asking us to develop an Application Programming Interface (API). In response, we can confirm that we will be developing the eServices system to accommodate the changes from this consultation. As part of this development we will investigate options for data submission via an API.
We note the feedback in relation ordinary code provision 8.1.1 and have decided not to proceed with the proposals to elevate elements of the code into licence condition 15.2.2 at this stage. Ordinary code provision 8.1.1 will be retained in its current form.
The following changes to licence condition 15.3.1 will take effect from 31 October 2020.
Technical scoping work for the harmonisation of reporting periods will start in autumn 2020.
Final wording of amended licence condition 15.3.1 (General and regulatory returns)
Licence condition 15.3.1
General and regulatory returns
All operating licences
1 On request, licensees must provide the Commission with such information as the Commission may require, in such form or manner as the Commission may from time-to-time specify, about the use made of facilities provided in accordance with this licence and the manner in which gambling authorised by this licence and the licensee’s business in relation to that gambling are carried on.
2 In particular, within 28 days of the end of each quarterly period or, for those only submitting annual returns, within 42 days of the end of each annual period, licensees must submit an accurate Regulatory Return to the Commission containing such information as the Commission may from time to time specify1.
1Regulatory returns are to be submitted to us online via the ‘eServices’ digital service on our website.
Proposal 12: Additional licence condition 15.2.3 (Other reportable events) Next section
Proposal 14: Changes to code 3.2.1, 3.2.3, 3.2.5 and 3.2.7 (access to gambling by children and young persons)
Last updated: 28 March 2023
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Following an audit the 'eServices' link has been updated.