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Summer 2023 consultation – Proposed changes to LCCP and RTS: Consultation Response

This response sets out our position in relation to the consultation on the proposed changes to LCCP and Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards.

Published: 1 May 2024

Last updated: 1 May 2024

This version was printed or saved on: 13 June 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/consultation-response/summer-2023-consultation-proposed-changes-to-lccp-and-rts-consultation

Executive summary

We asked

In July 2023, we consulted on a number of changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requirements placed on gambling businesses.

We also consulted on changes to the existing Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS), including new requirements altogether.

Additionally, we consulted on changes to the composition and decision-making processes of the Gambling Commission’s Regulatory Panels.

Four of these topics are connected to the government’s White Paper High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age (opens in new tab) following its review of the Gambling Act 2005, and our advice to government as part of that Review. The proposals we made in the consultation formed part of our strategic commitment to deliver measures to support improved transparency for consumers, and consumer choice as well as player protections and product safety.

The detailed proposals were to:

1. Improve consumer choice on direct marketing

Introducing a new LCCP requirement (5.1.12) to provide customers with options to opt-in to the product type they are interested in and the channels through which they wish to receive direct marketing.

2. Strengthen age verification in premises

Removing the current exemption from carrying out age verification test purchasing for smaller licensees and changing the relevant ordinary code (good practice) elements of LCCP to say that licensees should have procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25 years old, rather than under 21 years old.

We also sought views on how licensees make sure they have effective age verification procedures where their premises may not be directly supervised.

3. Amend and introduce new requirements on remote game design

Extending the controls that already apply to slots to other online products and introducing new RTS requirements to reduce the speed and intensity on online products while making them fairer and increasing consumer understanding about game play.

We proposed a 5 second minimum game speed which targets the fastest versions of non-slots products (RTS 14G). We also proposed removing features which can speed up play to reduce the harm experienced by consumers who are gambling particularly quickly or intensely, or create dissociation from awareness of play (RTS 14E). We specifically consulted on a technical update to RTS security requirements to reflect the 2022 update to ISO 27001.

4. Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk

Introducing LCCP requirements on operators to conduct checks in a new frictionless manner, to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances, in the form of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

We proposed that operators should use the information obtained within their overall approach of identifying risk of harm and taking action to prevent gambling harm.

This topic was also included in a consultation and call for evidence exercise between 2020 and 2021. We published the response to the consultation in 2022 and have now included further information about the responses to the call for evidence.

5. Extending and clarifying Personal Management Licences requirements

Changing licence condition 1.2.1 of the LCCP, which would both clarify and extend the roles captured by the definition.

6. Changes to Regulatory Panels

Changing the composition and decision-making processes of the Commission’s Regulatory Panels.

You said

The consultation closed on 18 October 2023.

There were 2,411 respondents who provided 3,113 responses across the Summer 2023 consultation topics, from a wide range of stakeholders, including:

Annex 1 lists organisations that consented to the publication of their name when responding to the consultation.

Alongside the consultation, there has also been extensive engagement on a number of topics, and we have progressed consumer research in order to more fully understand consumer perspectives.

We have reviewed the responses to each of the proposals to inform our final position.

Some of the proposals received general support. There was however a great deal of interest in the topic of financial risk from a range of stakeholders - in the consultation itself and in discussions and engagement with the Commission and with government. We have carefully considered the consultation responses before arriving at decisions on next steps.

We did

Following consultation, we have made decisions on next steps, including refining the requirements and associated guidance and further developing our approaches to implementation. The decisions are set out as follows.

1. Improve consumer choice on direct marketing

We have decided to proceed with the new LCCP requirement (15.1.12) with some variation to what we consulted upon. Notably, while land-based gambling was included in scope of the original proposal, following consideration, we have not included land-based gambling or the lottery sector in scope of the requirement, at this time.

Further to this, we have also removed the need to stop marketing to customers that have not set marketing preferences in line with the proposed product options. Instead, customers will be required to update their marketing consent in line with the new requirements before they next gamble. We have also removed the requirement to include post as a form of direct marketing as it would bring only limited benefit for consumers. The new requirement (5.1.12) will come into force on 17 January 2025.

2. Strengthen age verification in premises

We have decided to implement the changes to the LCCP covering age verification test purchasing and ‘think 21 to think 25’ exactly as consulted. The updated aspects of the LCCP will come into effect on 30 August 2024. 

Following the request for views in the consultation, we are not considering any measures specific to premises that may not be directly supervised at this time. The requirements in LCCP apply equally wherever premises are located, and licensees should take any measures necessary to comply with them.

3. Amend and introduce new requirements on remote game design

There were 7 component proposals put forward under this part of the consultation, 6 for game design and an update to our security audit following an update to the ISO standard. Following due consideration, while we will largely be taking the proposals forward, we have decided to amend certain aspects, as set out as follows.

We have decided to proceed with the introduction of a 5 second speed for non-slots titles. Therefore, we are introducing the new requirement 14G to RTS 14 Responsible product design.

We have also decided to introduce the requirement to prohibit autoplay for all online gaming products. Implementation guidance has been included in the RTS which makes clear that the auto-posting of blinds in peer-to-peer poker is not caught by this requirement (RTS 8).

We have decided to prohibit operator-led functionality which enables playing multiple simultaneous games to all casino products, bringing them in line with slots. We removed bingo, virtual betting, and peer-to-peer poker from the scope of this requirement following consultation. The final requirement will prohibit operator-led functionality which facilitates playing multiple simultaneous products, such as 2 games of roulette or 4 blackjack tables (RTS 14C).

We have decided to prohibit the celebrations of returns less than or equal to stake (RTS 14F) with a small tweak to the existing implementation guidance within the standards to make it clearer for industry.

We have also decided to require operators to provide the net spend and net time information that is currently required for slots for casino games (excluding peer-to-peer poker) (RTS 2E and RTS 13C).

The new game design requirements will come into force on 17 January 2025. 

For the security audit update we will go ahead as consulted on, with one new control (5.23 Information security for use of cloud services) added to the existing set, which has been updated to the 2022 format.

As an annual requirement, the last date for any licensee to complete a security audit against the 2013 standard will be 31 October 2024. All security audits conducted after 1 November 2024 must be conducted against the controls listed in the updated RTS which aligns with the 2022 standard. This means by 31 October 2025 all relevant licensees will have completed a security audit based on the 2022 standard.

For clarity, any security audit up to 31 October 2024 can be against either the 2013 or 2022 standard.

4. Remote gambling: financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments

We are working towards a new, proportionate and frictionless system of checks to make processes smoother and better for customers. We do not seek to mandate a cap on gambling, or to interrupt the customer journey unnecessarily, and the checks would not impact on a customer’s credit score.

We consulted on 2 types of checks which would work as a package together to identify customers at risk of harm amongst the highest spending customers - the light-touch financial vulnerability check to consider things like bankruptcy and the financial risk assessment to consider credit reference data and identify potential consumer risk.

We value the consultation responses we have received, and have made some changes to our proposals following consultation.

Light-touch financial vulnerability checks

We are introducing a light-touch and frictionless financial vulnerability check to consider publicly available data for things like bankruptcy. We want to prevent some of the cases we have seen such as where customers who were bankrupt did not receive any support.

Some larger operators already conduct such checks for all customers at registration, and others do so at some point in the customer journey.

These checks will identify financial vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts. They will focus solely on publicly available data and, following feedback through the consultation, will not require gambling businesses to consider an individual’s personal details such as postcode or job title.

Following consultation, we have focused on the monthly threshold rather than also including an annual threshold as a minimum requirement. This is because we consider that the vast majority of those that would trigger an annual threshold would have previously triggered a monthly threshold. We also consider that a customer with a consistent spend profile over the year is less likely to be experiencing financial distress associated with gambling, if there are no other indicators of harm. Finally, we have made some detailed amendments to the provision relating to definitions and clarifying how the data may be processed, considering practical issues raised by gambling businesses.

To ease the introduction of these light-touch checks they will initially come into force at a higher threshold from 30 August 2024, before reducing to a lower threshold on 28 February 2025, to smooth implementation for consumers. We will evaluate the impact of these checks and will continue to keep thresholds and other details under review.

Frictionless financial risk assessments

We are also working towards new, proportionate financial risk assessments. We want to prevent some of the serious cases we have seen where customers were able to spend large amounts in short spaces of time without any checks. We think we can improve customer experience with a frictionless system based on data sharing that helps identify risk for the highest spending customers. But we do not intend to roll out the assessments until we are satisfied that the data-sharing can work well. We are therefore going to run a pilot with the largest operators to test the practical issues before a final decision is made on whether and how these assessments take place.

Consumers will not be affected during a pilot period to make sure that that we can refine the data sharing processes before the assessments would be rolled out in a live environment. The pilot will test out the different forms of data available to consider what is helpful and meaningful in the gambling context. The pilot will assess the type of data that will be used to inform a customer’s risk assessment. For example, credit reference agencies, could share information on any credit arrears a customer has without customers needing to submit documents. Gambling operators will never have access to raw account level data, for example they would not be able to look at customers’ bank accounts.

If the pilot progresses well, these will be frictionless checks for the vast majority of customers who undergo them, without the customer providing documents. They will apply to only the highest spenders and will not be a cap on gambling and will enable gambling businesses to take into account the whole picture. Once an assessment has been obtained, gambling businesses can consider gambling history such as if the customer is overall winning, and consider whether there are other indicators of harm such as whether the customer has been chasing losses. There will be no new requirements on betting at the track, or at the local high street betting shop.

The pilot will enable us to test the details of data-sharing in practice, working with credit reference agencies and gambling businesses, thinking always about what this means for the consumer.

For the purposes of the pilot, we consider it reasonable that the largest operators are required to participate. We have therefore decided to require operators in the highest 3 relevant bands of operating licence fee categories, with a significant proportion of market share. We estimate that this group will provide us with sufficient information during the pilot period to inform decision-making whilst also imposing any burden for operators on those with the largest resources and those most likely to be able to participate in a pilot easily and effectively.

We will additionally seek volunteers from operators outside of these fee bands to participate. While we think it is important to offer the opportunity for some smaller operators to contribute to the pilot, we did not consider it proportionate to require smaller operators to do so. The pilot will commence at the end of August 2024.

5. Extending and clarifying Personal Management Licences requirements

We have decided to extend the LCCP requirements 1.2.1 as consulted. However, we have provided further clarity in respect of the Chair position. The updated requirement will come into force on 29 November 2024.

6. Changes to Regulatory Panels

We have concluded that we will not be implementing the consultation proposals. We remain committed to maintaining robust, cost-effective, and timely regulatory decision-making processes, and we will open further consultation if we have alternative proposals for consultation.

Implementation timeline

We have developed a phased implementation approach to these new and amended requirements and codes which has 5 key initial implementation dates: end of August 2024, end of October 2024, end of November 2024, mid-January 2025 and February 2025.

This phased approach allows the standard 3 month notice period for LCCP changes which may involve some process or technical changes, but which we consider can be delivered within this timeframe, taking into account the consultation responses.

It also allows a longer period of implementation for those requirements where we consider gambling businesses will need to make more significant technical or process amendments, where there is a link to some external date, or where we want to ensure that operators can make the changes in such a way that supports and enables consumers. We have also taken into account that there are other changes to the regulatory framework, in connection with government’s planned or potential legislative change (for example changes to online slot stake limits).

The 5 phases of implementation

The 5 phases of implementation for these Commission-led decisions are:

At the end of August 2024, 3 requirements will come into force:

On 31 October 2024, one provision will come into effect:

For remote operators, a technical update to RTS security requirements to reflect the 2022 update to ISO 27001.

And at the end of November 2024, one further provision will come into force:

The new and amended requirements for operators to ensure that certain roles within their organisations are held by individuals who hold a Personal Management Licence (PML).

On 17 January 2025, 2 further requirements will come into effect for remote operators:

On 28 February 2025, one further provision will come into force:

For remote operators, the requirement to conduct light-touch financial vulnerability checks at the final threshold of £150 net deposits per 30-day rolling period.

To assist our stakeholders, we will shortly set out a full timeline of Commission changes to the regulatory framework, which covers Commission amendments to LCCP, Remote and Gaming Machine Technical Standards and other key documents. This timeline will be available on our website and cover changes that are connected with Gambling Act Review implementation as well as our important business as usual updates to the regulatory framework.

The Commission is also in the process of considering consultation responses on other topics. To assist stakeholders, we set out further information about the intended timetable for responses, subject to further analysis of consultation responses.

On 21 February 2024, we closed the Autumn 2023 consultation. We published the consultation response on the topic of the timing of regulatory returns from gambling businesses on 27 March 2024. We currently intend to publish consultation responses and set out our approach to implementation of any changes arising in the following areas during quarter 2 of the coming financial year:

Finally, we will commence consultations during this financial year in relation to further policy areas, including the topic of Gaming Machine Technical Standards.

Summary of topics

Topic 1 - Improving customer choice on direct marketing: Consultation Response

Summary - Improving customer choice on direct marketing

During summer 2023 we consulted on a proposed change to our Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) (opens in new tab) to provide customers with increased preferences to control the gambling direct marketing they receive by product types (for example betting, bingo and casino) and channel (for example email, SMS).

This followed the publication of the government’s White Paper (opens in new tab) which set out expectations that the Gambling Commission will consult on setting higher standards for operators in obtaining all customers’ consent to direct marketing and promotional offers.

The aim of our consultation was to extend the principles of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (opens in new tab) (PECR), which require a very high bar, and granular level of consent to send direct acquisition e-marketing to new and existing customers.

We proposed this across all sectors and gambling products to explore options to give customers increased preferences for direct marketing across all of their gambling. We have since conducted further research which has highlighted that some gamblers may use offers received through direct marketing as an incentive to begin gambling on new products; the research identified potential risks associated with this behaviour.

After analysing responses and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, we have amended the scope of this requirement so that it only applies to remote gambling operators, who are responsible for the most direct gambling marketing.

The new requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Introduction - Improving customer choice on direct marketing

On 26 July 2023 we issued our summer consultation which included proposals for direct marketing. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 440 written responses to the consultation from the following categories of respondents:

Summary of responses and our position - Improving customer choice on direct marketing

Proposals

We consulted on introducing a new Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requirement to provide customers with options to opt-in to direct marketing based on the product types (for example betting, bingo and casino) they are interested in and the channels (for example email, SMS) through which they wish to receive marketing. The aim of our consultation was to extend the principles of Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) to new and existing customers.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposed new requirement relating to customer choice and direct marketing? Please give your reasons.

Respondents’ views

The consultation responses showed that members of the public were broadly supportive of the proposal, providing a range of general comments about how the proposals seemed sensible. They also welcomed improved customer choice, particularly as it would allow customers who are only interested in betting to switch off marketing for non-betting products.

There were a small number of customers who stated that they disagreed with the proposals on direct marketing. However, having reviewed these responses, some related to other consultation proposals, such as financial vulnerability and financial risk. As a result, we considered these responses in the context of the other proposals. There were also customers who wanted to see non-betting products heavily restricted or prohibited all together (which was not in scope of this consultation).

Gambling operators were generally supportive of improving customer choice for marketing or they already offer such options, but were opposed to the part of the proposal that would require marketing to customers where they had not updated their preferences to cease.

The lottery and land-based sectors raised concerns relating to their lack of account-based play and technical infrastructure that would make the proposal challenging and costly. Further views are broken down in the following section.

Respondents raised the following key points:

The lotteries and/or charities sector were particularly concerned that the proposal would or should:

The land-based sector, predominantly bingo operators, were particularly concerned that the proposal would or should:

Many respondents suggested that the proposal cuts across and goes above and beyond existing primary legislation and regulations such as the Data Protection Act (DPA), PECR, the Regulators Code, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA/CAP) Codes and more significantly, the Data Protection and Digital Bill which is currently going through Parliament. This Bill is set to relax marketing practices for charities and other non-commercial organisations. Several respondents felt that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) should have sole responsibility for consulting on direct marketing.

A number of respondents suggested that the consultation should not proceed without the cross-selling evidence mentioned in the consultation document and that this evidence should inform current proposals. Some respondents felt that the current evidence does not provide a firm basis for introducing significant change. There were also views from industry that this consultation should have been combined with the Socially Responsible Incentives (SRI) consultation as they are linked.

Some respondents highlighted potential unintended consequences, which might include:

Our position

We have considered the comments and concerns raised by stakeholders in the consultation responses and addressed them below.

Land based gambling was originally included in scope of the proposal as it was considered worth exploring how feasible it would be to improve customer choice across the entire gambling industry. Online accounts can also be opened from some land-based premises.

There was concern from the lottery sector around our proposal removing their ability to rely on legitimate interest for wider fundraising activities. As the regulator for gambling in Great Britain, any activity that is not related to licensed gambling was not in scope of our proposal.

Our engagement and the written consultation responses have shown that the scale of the task required for land-based and lottery operators to develop a solution to seek customer marketing preferences (for all existing and new customers) appears to be disproportionate to the benefit afforded to their customers at this time. Our past 12 months contact centre data does not feature complaints about lottery marketing.

Given the complexities faced by such operators and our focus on remote gambling marketing, we will not include land-based gambling and the lottery sectors in scope of this requirement.

The Gambling Commission will continue to monitor and review gambling marketing and may revisit this decision at a later date if we receive complaints about relevant marketing or if the evidence base otherwise changes.

The ICO is the supervisory authority for data protection and enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and PECR. There are other rules and codes of practice relating to marketing, which are regulated by other bodies such as the ASA. However, this does not preclude regulators such as the Commission taking steps to mitigate sector specific risks or improve the options customers have to control gambling marketing.

The proposed requirement in the consultation would not have required operators to ensure that all marketing campaigns were issued by all channels where customers had expressed a preference. For example, an email marketing campaign could be sent by email only - it was not intended that an operator must also send out this campaign via SMS because some customers had opted into an SMS only preference.

We considered whether it was appropriate to combine this consultation with the (at the time upcoming) work on SRI. This consultation focused on improving customer marketing preferences whereas the SRI consultation is looking at the mechanics of inducements in detail. It did not seem necessary to delay this consultation when the focus was markedly different, but the Commission is mindful of the links between the topics and is joined up internally.

As set out in our consultation paper, the Commission conducted further research into promotional offers and incentives, the findings of which were published in November 2023. As a part of the Consumer Voice research programme, Yonder’s qualitative approach found that persistent marketing increases engagement in promotional offers that are unrelated to the customer’s primary form of gambling.

Initially, consumers justified their engagement with newer, secondary types of gambling as a way to fund their primary type of gambling. Some customers may gamble on new gambling products from promotions despite not having a full understanding of the offer or of the game itself, which can lead to increased potential for gambling-related harm.

Consumers rarely adapted their cumulative gambling budget to cater for the greater quantity of gambling activities they engaged with. Instead, they typically allocated a separate budget for the new form of gambling on top of their original gambling budget, effectively increasing the amount they were willing to lose. This is particularly enhanced when offers have removed the feeling that the individual has staked their own money. Whilst initially used as a means to fund their main gambling activity, new gambling activities become a staple within their gambling routine. The research found that, over time, offers increase the prevalence of customers gambling on a wider range of products and this engagement can continue even without the use of offers.

While the research is not definitive about the impact of cross-selling, it is clear that some customers may feel incentivised by offers to participate in different gambling activities in addition to their primary gambling activity and this can increase their potential for gambling harm, particularly if they do not understand or enjoy the product.

Channel options

We included explicit options in the consultation proposals for channel preferences to aid consistency across the gambling industry.

We note the inclusion of a channel for push notifications appears unnecessary given the user control on the device which already exists. It may also cause confusion as customers could have conflicting preferences across device and gambling account settings. Similar arguments mean that the proposed channels for social media and ‘other’ would add complexity that may not be helpful.

We have also removed the requirement to include post as a form of direct marketing. We do think there is merit in customers having full control over their gambling marketing via all channels however the inclusion of post would go beyond the scope of PECR and bring only limited benefits for customers.

As per our original aims, we want to extend the principles of PECR to all customers, including existing customers. The main direct marketing channels that are covered by PECR are phone calls, emails, texts (SMS) and faxes.

However, we are not aware of gambling marketing being sent by fax and will therefore update the channel preferences that are required to be offered (where applicable) to phone calls, emails and texts.

We may revisit this if the need arises, such as customer complaints about postal or other types of gambling marketing.

Product options

In relation to product options, we have removed reference to lotteries as they are no longer in scope of the requirement.

We are not persuaded to use the term gaming to capture non-betting products. Remote gambling licences are issued for distinct activities, such as real event betting, casino and bingo. Whilst bingo is not specifically defined in the Act, the Commission has set out its long-standing position on bingo in the form of an advice note, the core of which, is that bingo is a game of equal chance and therefore not a casino game under the Act.

Operators are licensed for activities they offer and not all remote casino operators offer bingo and vice versa. It could be confusing for customers to see the term gaming used to refer to casino only marketing and separately used for bingo only marketing. We want customers to be clear about the type of gambling product they wish to receive marketing for.

In summary, we will proceed with the product options listed in the consultation except for lotteries. The product options must include betting, casino, bingo and make clear to customers which products are covered in each category.

Implementation

We have removed the need to stop marketing to customers that have not set marketing preferences in line with the proposed product options. Operators were concerned about losing their ability to contact customers including those that only login occasionally.

However, we do not think it would be appropriate to introduce requirements intended to provide customers with better control over the marketing they receive, if they are unlikely to be noticed or considered by customers. Operators were keen to point out that customers do not engage with a high percentage of emails or other types of contact, and we do not want these preferences to be set by new signups only. In order to achieve the aim of ensuring customers are made aware of these preferences, operators will be required to reconfirm marketing preferences with customers upon first login after the requirement comes into effect, as was proposed in the consultation. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, and it will be up to the operator on how to make sure a customer is required to make an active choice before continuing to gamble.

In order to ensure customer’s make an informed decision about their marketing preferences:

  • the information provided to customers should be clear and explain that new granular marketing preferences are being sought to give customers greater control over the gambling marketing they wish to receive
  • the selection page could be designed in a way that requires a customer to make an active choice before they can continue past the page, providing the option to receive no marketing is still an option. For example, by having an explicit box to select ‘no marketing’ along with the options to select channel and product preferences.

For clarity, remote operators can obtain a customer’s updated marketing preferences at any point and do not need to wait until the implementation date. Following the commencement date, marketing can continue as per the existing consent that has been obtained until a customer logs-in to their account. Upon log-in after the commencement date, any customer that had not set preferences in line with the requirement will need to do so before they are allowed to gamble. Customers that have already set preferences in line with the requirement do not need to be asked again.

For operators that already offer marketing preferences including product and channel options, there is likely to be no change as customers will have already consented to receive marketing based on the updated preferences required by the provision.

All options presented to the customer must be presented with blank (unticked) options that require the customer to make a conscious choice. Presenting the options as ‘off’ by default means customers who have opted out of marketing are presented with their correct choice.

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: All remote casino, bingo and betting licences other than ancillary, host, remote betting intermediary (trading room only) and remote general betting (limited) licences.

SR Code - 5.1.12 - Direct marketing preferences

  1. Licensees must provide customers with options to opt-in to direct marketing on a per product and per channel basis. The options must cover all products and channels provided by the licensee and be set to opt-out by default. These options must be offered as part of the registration process and be updateable should customers change their preference. This requirement applies to all new and existing customers.
  2. Channel options must include phone call, email and text messages (SMS) as applicable.
  3. Product options must include betting, casino, bingo, as applicable. Operators must make clear to customers which products they offer are covered under relevant categories.
  4. Where an operator seeks an additional step for customers to confirm their chosen marketing preferences, the structure and wording of that step must be presented in a manner which only asks for confirmation to progress those choices with one click to proceed. There must be no encouragement or option to change selection; only the option to accept or decline their selection.
  5. Customers must not receive direct marketing that contravenes their channel or product preferences.
  6. All customers logging into their account for the first time after the commencement date of this provision are required to have confirmed their marketing preferences in line with this condition before they are permitted to gamble.

We are committed to giving consideration to potential equalities impacts, having regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. As part of this consultation, we invited evidence and information to assist us in considering any equalities impacts, within the meaning of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, in the context of the proposals. Respondents did not raise any issues about the proposals which we are taking forward following consultation.

Our consideration is that the policy changes being implemented do not present a negative impact on the protected characteristics stated within the Equality Act 2010, and they do not contribute towards unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation and/or other conduct prohibited by the Act, and we do not consider that the changes will reduce equality of opportunity or foster poor relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Topic 2 - Strengthening age verification in premises: Consultation Response

Summary - Strengthening age verification in premises

Most forms of gambling are illegal for under 18s. However, the rules around access (and how they are enforced) vary across land-based premises. The government’s white paper High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age (opens in new tab), set out a clear expectation that the Gambling Commission will introduce consistency in test purchasing across the gambling sector and a better understanding of the risks of underage play in smaller premises and venues which are not directly supervised.

In July 2023 we consulted on Strengthening Age verification In Premises (opens in new tab). The consultation focused on 3 parts:

  1. Removing the current exemption from carrying out age verification test purchasing for category A and B licensees of the following types: betting, bingo, family entertainment centre and adult gaming centre.
  2. Changing the relevant ordinary code (good practice) elements of our licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) to say that licensees should have procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25, rather than currently under 21.
  3. Seeking views on how licensees make sure they have effective age verification procedures where their premises may not be directly supervised.

Proposals 1 and 2 would be brought about by amendments to the relevant Social Responsibility (SR) codes and ordinary codes in our Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP):

In this document, 'AGC' is an Adult Gaming Centre and 'FEC' is a Family Entertainment Centre.

We proposed to change the following SR code provisions to remove the exemption from the test purchasing requirement:

We proposed to delete the following ordinary code provisions, to remove references that would become obsolete with the removal of the test purchasing exemption:

We proposed to change the following ordinary code provisions to reference a 'Think 25' approach rather than 'Think 21':

Following careful consideration of the responses received during the consultation, we will be proceeding with each of the LCCP changes exactly as proposed.

These new elements of the LCCP will come into effect on 30 August 2024.

Introduction - Strengthening age verification in premises

On 26 July 2023 we issued our consultation on strengthening age verification in premises. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 279 written responses to the consultation from the following categories of respondents:

Summary of responses and our position - Strengthening age verification in premises

Proposal 1: Removal of age verification test exemption for smaller licensees

Proposals

We proposed to remove the current exemption from carrying out age verification test purchasing for category A and B licensees of the following types: betting, bingo, Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) and Adult Gaming Centre (AGC).

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposed change to remove the exemption from age verification test purchasing for category A and B betting, bingo, AGC and FEC licensees?

Respondents' views

There was support for this proposal with the around half of the total number of respondents agreeing. The rest were split relatively evenly between disagreeing or having no strong view.

This question received a low number of responses from licensees, likely a reflection of the proportion of licensees that would be affected by the proposal. The majority supported it, generally noting the advantage of a consistent approach across all licensees. One disagreed, with a suggestion that technology could do away with the need for test purchasing.

The proposal was supported by under half of members of the public who responded. A third disagreed and just over a quarter had no strong view. The views of those supporting the proposal included that it was important to protect children and young people from gambling, that there should be consistent rules across all forms of gambling and that the testing was a sensible precaution. The reasons cited by those disagreeing included the importance of personal responsibility by those gambling, that underage gambling (in the relevant sectors) was not a problem or low risk, and that introducing this requirement could put pressure on smaller and less profitable premises.

The proposal was supported by all respondents from professional bodies, two of the trade associations and regulator and/or licensing authorities. They typically noted the importance of a ‘level playing field’ across all licensees and the importance of managing the risks of underage gambling. The other two trade associations did not have a strong view either way. One noted that the proposal would provide a level playing field across the sector and provide us with a complete picture of compliance levels in age verification, but the requirement would introduce a significant additional cost for smaller businesses.

The consultation asked for any comments on implementation issues, timelines and practicalities, and for an estimate of direct costs associated with implementing these proposals. We received few responses relevant to these points on this proposal. One noted that costs for the licensees affected could be substantial, as they were less likely to be able to benefit from the economies of scale and lower cost per test that larger licensees may benefit from. Gambling licensees, in particular, asked that sufficient time be given to make any changes necessary to implement the requirement, including engaging third-party companies to carry out testing.

Our position

We have carefully considered all the responses to the consultation and have decided to proceed with our proposal to remove the current exemption from carrying out age verification test purchasing for category A and B licensees of the following types: betting, bingo, family entertainment centre and adult gaming centre. As the consultation noted, the risk of harm from underage gambling does not differ according to the size of the licensee running the premises. Our data shows we have an incomplete picture of risk, with well under half of category A and B licensees (voluntarily) submitting test purchasing results. The test purchasing results that we do have suggest licensees need to make progress in this area: in 45 percent of tests in category A and B FECs (a sector with a large number of smaller operators), the tester was not challenged at all.

We acknowledge that introducing this requirement will increase costs for smaller licensees. However, many of these licensees can, and do, benefit from testing provided via their trade association. Our guidance also suggests that licensees only need to perform a modest number of tests to fulfil the requirement which will limit the cost to implement this change.

We consider that, following consultation, the proposals are proportionate to address the risk of underage gambling and to the cost of implementation. As the majority of licensee premises are already tested, we view this as a balanced way of achieving compliance in this area.

We note the request from licensees that they have sufficient time to implement the requirement and engage testing companies. Our guidance on recording and submitting age verification test purchasing results data requires results to be submitted annually, and within 42 days of the end of each financial year. This means that all relevant premises will have to be tested by 31 March 2025. We consider this is sufficient time for licensees who are arranging testing for the first time.

Final wording of amended Social Responsibility Codes and Ordinary Codes

These changes will come into effect on 30 August 2024.

Note: Where a dash (“-“) is used in the LCCP to denote a range of paragraphs, we intend to change these to “to”. For example, “paragraphs 4 to 7” rather than “paragraphs 4-7”. The former is more accessible and does not change the meaning.

3.2.3 AGC SR code

  1. All licensees must conduct test purchasing or take part in collective test purchasing programmes, as a means of providing reasonable assurance that they have effective policies and procedures to prevent underage gambling, and must provide their test purchase results to the Gambling Commission, in such a form or manner as the Commission may from time to time specify.

3.2.5 Bingo and FEC SR code

  1. All licensees must conduct test purchasing or take part in collective test purchasing programmes, as a means of providing reasonable assurance that they have effective policies and procedures to prevent underage gambling, and must provide their test purchase results to the Commission, in such a form or manner as the Commission may from time to time specify.

3.2.7 Betting SR code

Applies to: Paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 to 7: all non-remote betting and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences Paragraph 3: all non-remote betting licences (except general betting (limited) licences) and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences Paragraph 8: non-remote pool betting licences Paragraph 9: all non-remote general betting (standard) licences.

3.2.4 (5) AGC ordinary code

Subsection removed.

3.2.6 (6) Bingo and FEC ordinary code

Subsection removed.

3.2.8 Betting ordinary code

Applies to: Paragraphs 1 to 5 inclusive: all non-remote betting and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences Paragraph 6: all non-remote betting (limited) licences and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences.

Proposal 2: Guidance change for licensees on checking a customer's age

Proposals

We sought views on changing the relevant ordinary code (good practice) elements of our licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) to say that licensees should have procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25, rather than currently under 21.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposed ordinary code change that licensees adopt a ‘Think 25’, rather than a ‘Think 21’ approach to age verification?

Respondents' views

This proposal received a similar response to the first proposal with around half of the total number of respondents agreeing. Out of the rest, a third disagreed and the remainder either had no strong view or did not answer the question. The proposal received a low number of responses from licensees. Of those that responded, the large majority supported it, noting that some licensees were already operating this standard voluntarily, that it was a well-recognised practice in other sectors and would help improve standards in the gambling sector. One disagreed, noting the potential benefits of digital ID technology in this area.

Similar proportions of members of the public agreed and disagreed with the proposal. Reasons for disagreeing were typically variations on the themes of the proposal being excessive or ‘overkill’ to deal with the issue of underage gambling, that the current age of 21 was sufficient or that people who were 21 should be considered responsible for their own actions. Some of those in agreement thought the proposal was a sensible approach, making age verification easier for employees and a way to align the industry with others that sell restricted products. Others agreed, but in the mistaken belief that we had proposed to increase the legal age to gamble to 25.

The proposal was supported by all licensing authorities, professional bodies and trade associations that responded, and by a large majority of charity and/or non-profit respondents, with those respondents generally noting that this proposal would bring the gambling sector into line with the sale of other age-restricted products.

As noted previously, this consultation asked for any comments on implementation issues, timelines and practicalities, and for an estimate of direct costs associated with implementing these proposals. Two larger licensees who responded to this question both suggested the same figure (£10,000) to implement this proposal across their estate, one suggesting that cost would include replacing ‘think 21’ with ‘think 25’ assets in their premises. One other licensee respondent did not provide a cost estimate, but did not anticipate additional costs other than the costs of revising and issuing updated customer communication and signage material across its estate. A trade body suggested that as its members already followed this proposal, there would be no additional cost to them. Another trade body considered there could be additional costs where cameras and remote age verification checks were deployed, as moving the age threshold would increase the number of checks.

Some licensees requested they be given adequate time to implement any necessary changes to aspects such as company policies, training and signage in premises.

Our position

As the consultation noted, pass rates for gambling premises compared favourably with those for the sale of alcohol at supermarkets and convenience stores, but there is still a significant minority of tests, particularly in Adult Gaming Centres (AGC) and bingo premises, where the tester is not challenged at all. While licensees must abide by the relevant Social Responsibility (SR) code requirements around age verification, it is otherwise up to them to decide how they meet the legal requirement to prevent underage gambling. As such, we consider it is appropriate to recognise that ‘think 25’ is a good practice recommendation and would bring gambling into line with other age-controlled sectors.

The government’s white paper noted that some licensees have reported going beyond our previous view of good practice and have voluntarily introduced a ‘Think 25’ approach when it comes to staff deciding when to challenge a customer about their age. There have been calls from both industry and campaign groups to introduce ‘Think 25’ as standard for all gambling in premises. This position was shared by the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling in its 2018 report which pointed to findings from the retail alcohol industry that premises challenging those who appeared to be under 25 were more successful in preventing underage access than those who only challenged those who appeared to be under 21.

We are not able to assess the individual cost estimates provided by licensees in response to this consultation. We recognise that, in order to follow this good practice, customers will need to know to expect to be challenged for ID if they appear to be under 25. As this approach has been adopted in other age-controlled sectors, licensees may be able to benefit from generic communications materials rather than creating something bespoke for their premises.

We note the response regarding cameras and remote age verification checks. We know some licensees use such technology to help control and monitor access to premises. However, there is no requirement from us to use such technology and it is up to licensees to decide how they manage the risk of underage gambling and comply with the requirements of our LCCP and the law.

Based on these factors and taking the respondents views into consideration, we will proceed to implement the change we proposed. Licensees will have three months’ notice for the revised LCCP provisions to come into effect.

Final wording of amended Social Responsibility Codes and Ordinary Codes

These changes will come into effect on 30 August 2024.

3.2.2 Casinos ordinary code

  1. Licensees should put into effect procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to them to be under 25.

3.2.4 AGC ordinary code

  1. Licensees should put into effect procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to them to be under 25.

3.2.6 Bingo and FEC ordinary code

  1. Licensees should require a person who appears to relevant staff to be under the age of 25 to be asked to produce proof of age, either at the point of entry to the gambling area or as soon as it comes to the attention of staff that they wish to access gambling facilities.

3.2.8 Betting ordinary code

  1. Licensees should put into effect procedures that require their staff to check the age of any customer who appears to them to be under 25.

Changes to associated guidance

We will also make changes to the following guidance documents, so they are consistent with the amended LCCP provisions:

LCCP Information requirements - Other information requirements (test purchase results).

Guidance to operators for age verification test purchasing (non-remote).

Question regarding premises that do not have direct staff supervision

Some licensees operate premises that may not be directly supervised, such as those in motorway service areas. We sought views on how these licensees make sure they have effective age verification procedures.

Consultation question

Considering particularly premises that do not have direct staff supervision, please provide any views, along with supporting evidence, on the controls deployed by licensees (and their effectiveness) to meet our requirements on the prevention of underage gambling.

Background

Our Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requires licensees to have and put into effect policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling and monitor the effectiveness of these. In particular, this includes procedures for checking the age of apparently underage customers, removing anyone who appears to be underage and is unable to produce acceptable ID, and taking action where there are attempts by under 18s to enter the premises. Those policies and procedures must take account of the structure and layout of the premises.

These requirements, and other relevant provisions of the LCCP, apply regardless of where the premises are situated. The owners of gambling premises in areas such as motorway services typically hold Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) licences. Under 18s are not allowed to enter AGC premises. The permitted mix of gaming machines in an AGC in a motorway service area is the same as that for high street premises – unlimited category C and D gaming machines, with up to 20 percent of the total number of machines being of category B3 or B4 (with higher permitted stakes and prizes).

Responses

We received a relatively low number of responses to this question: less than 40 percent of those who responded to this section of the consultation.

Three main themes came out in the consultation responses:

Our position

We know that many operators of premises within areas such as motorway services already use CCTV, combined with a remotely controlled access gate, to monitor access to those premises. It would be up to licensees to decide whether the kinds of facial recognition technology mentioned in the responses would help them do that. Some also have staff within premises at busier times or locations.

We are not considering any measures specific to premises that may not be directly supervised at this time. The requirements in our LCCP apply equally wherever premises are located and licensees should take any measures necessary to comply with them. Our main tool to gauge the risk of underage gambling in these premises, and others, is the mandatory age verification test purchasing. This tool also assists licensees in making sure they are complying with what is, first and foremost, a legal requirement to prevent children from gambling.

Equalities considerations

We received very few responses presenting considerations that were relevant to the consultation proposals. A licensee who responded suggested that asking for proof of age in this context would not amount to unlawful discrimination. One member of the public thought that it would discriminate against those aged 18 to 25 years old. Another suggested that an ID check could only be justified if staff thought an individual was under 18 and using a higher age check seemed unreasonable and therefore illegal.

We are committed to giving consideration to potential equalities impacts, having regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. We do not currently consider that the proposals set out in issues 1 and 2 of this section of the consultation give rise to known negative impacts in the context of the above objectives.

We are aware that age is a protected characteristic. In challenging someone who appears to be underage for identification, a licensee is discriminating on the basis of age. However, this is necessary because it is illegal for someone to gamble (on certain products) under the age of 18, and a licensee would be committing an offence if they permitted them to do so.

Topic 3 - Game design: Consultation Response

Summary - Game design

During the summer we consulted on proposed changes to the design of online games (other than slots) to make them fairer and safer for consumers while improving transparency. This follows on from our work in 2020 to 2021 where we introduced changes for online slots as well as fulfilling the aim from the government’s White Paper (opens in new tab).

As highlighted in the consultation document, speed of play, as well as features which reduce thinking time or contribute to dissociation from the gambling activity can increase the risk of addiction and harm. When we consulted on changes to online slots (opens in new tab), we were clear that these proposals were just the first step in reducing the risk of harm from the design of games.

A number of respondents recommended stake limits on casino products in response to this consultation. The White Paper was clear that in the government’s view, the evidence does not currently support stake limits on non-slot gaming or betting products as stake size can have a more direct functional role in non-slot gameplay compared to slots, for instance in roulette where a higher stakes bet can be divided between different areas, modifying the rate of return to the player and the risk of losses. More information has been published and is available in the government response to the consultation on proposals for the introduction of a maximum stake limit for online slots (opens in new tab).

We received a number of comments and suggestions for additional measures the Gambling Commission should consider outside the scope of what was proposed. We have retained these recommendations and may consider them in future work.

We have decided to proceed with most of the proposed changes as set out in the consultation document. However, we have acted upon feedback from stakeholders and have amended several of the standards to be less onerous in scope or more suitably worded, without impacting the core objective of the White Paper and consultation: making games safer across the sector.

We have set out our position on each proposal in the relevant section of this consultation response and in addition we have detailed the new remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) on our website.

The new game design requirements will form part of a revised RTS and will come into effect on 17 January 2025.

The updated requirements for security audits will come into effect 31 October 2024. This means any annual security audit conducted after 1 November 2024 must be to the updated 2022 standard.

Introduction - Game design

On 26 July 2023 we issued our summer consultation which included Game Design proposals. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 178 written responses to the consultation from the following categories of respondents:

Summary of responses and our position - Game design

Proposal 1: Player-led 'spin stop' features

Proposals

We proposed widening the Remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) prohibition on features designed to reduce the time for the result to be known (quick spin, turbo) to all online gambling products.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposed change to prohibit features designed to speed up the result? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents’ views

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. Views from gambling operators were mixed due to 2 main issues around ‘crash games’ and the ‘scratch all’ or ‘reveal all’ feature.

Respondents commented as follows:

Our position

We proposed removing features that can contribute to greater intensity of gameplay, such as features that reduce the amount of time a consumer has to wait until a result is displayed, usually by reducing or removing altogether the reel spin animation.

Such features have the potential to:

  • deliberately speed up play
  • provide consumers with an artificial illusion of control
  • encourage dissociation from playing the game itself.

We note that with ‘crash games’ the customer is required to choose when to end their bet and if this is not before the ‘rocket’ crashes, they will lose their stake. This does not appear to be a feature designed to speed up an existing game as the game would not exist if the functionality was removed.

This proposal was not intended to remove game types, such as ‘crash games’. We have added implementation guidance that makes clear where a game requires the customer to make a decision to end the game (and not doing so guarantees a loss of stake) it will not be caught as a feature designed to speed up play.

The 'scratch-all' feature found on ‘instant win’ type products was not in scope for this proposal. We have also included implementation guidance that makes clear that this feature is not caught.

We did not consult on introducing breaks in play as some have suggested however we will continue to monitor online casino games and the evidence base relating to breaks in play to consider whether the introduction of such pauses would be beneficial.

We have decided to introduce the proposed requirement as it was written whilst being clear that it does not capture ‘crash games’ or the ‘scratch-all’ feature (new guidance d and e). This requirement will apply to casino from the commencement date.

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Casino.

RTS requirement 14E

The gambling system must not permit a customer to reduce the time until the result is presented.

RTS implementation guidance 14E

  1. Features such as turbo, quick spin and slam stop are not permitted. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but to illustrate the types of features the requirement is referring to.
  2. This applies to all remote games, regardless of game cycle speed.
  3. This requirement does not apply to bonus and/or feature games where an additional stake is not wagered.
  4. This requirement does not prohibit the ‘scratch-all’ and/or ’reveal-all’ feature.
  5. This requirement does not prohibit games where the customer will lose their stake unless they take action to end the game.

Proposal 2: Speed of play

Proposals

We proposed introducing a minimum spin speed for casino games (excluding slots which is already subject to a minimum speed of 2.5 seconds and poker) of 5 seconds to reduce the risk and intensity of non-slots casino titles, particularly those games that currently play faster than slots.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal to introduce a minimum speed of 5 seconds for non-slots casino games (excluding poker)? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents’ views

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. However, some of the written respondents, particularly academics, felt that while introducing a minimum speed was positive, the proposed minimum of 5 seconds is not slow enough.

The key points raised by respondents were:

Our position

Our consultation proposal was to introduce a minimum speed of 5 seconds to reduce the risk and intensity of non-slots casino titles, particularly the fastest variants of these games.

The biggest challenge raised in response to this proposal was that it does not go far enough, and that games should be made much slower. Views for increasing minimum game speed much further do not appear to factor in the actions of gambling consumers and whether they would continue to play the game at a much slower speed. Research such as Harris and Griffiths (2017) reports, “a consistent finding across studies that games with faster speeds of play were preferred and rated as more exciting for all gamblers, ranging from non-problem to problem gamblers”. This means that slowing games down may reduce the desire for those experiencing problems to continue gambling, but it could also reduce enjoyment for all gamblers which may lead to displacement to other gambling activities. If this reduction is slight, the effect on enjoyment will be minimal while also impacting the ability to play games at speeds that may be harmful to some.

We reported in our consultation that a sample of data showed that the average length of time for play on casino products is in excess of 5 seconds. We have now conducted our own survey of online casino gamblers, with results published in February 2024, which found that the majority (not lower than 70 percent) of respondents report across 7 categories of game that the average spin speed or length of time a hand is played is ‘just right’. Amongst the remaining respondents, they were more likely to report that the games are ‘too slow’ rather than ‘too fast’; details are available in the data tables in the survey of online casino gamblers. This adds to the evidence that current game speeds are satisfactory for most consumers and suggests reducing game speed too much may affect consumer enjoyment and potentially increase displacement to other products.

We do not think it would be useful or desirable at this point in time to define multiple game types with multiple game speeds. Such prescription would be unwieldy and quickly lead to innovation at the edges to blur or create new game variants. We have already seen that introducing a definition for a single product (slots) can lead to complexity in categorisation. Such complexity requires additional resource to establish whether a game is compliant, for example.

We know from our evidence that casino table games typically play slower than slots but have a higher loss rate, with the Patterns of Play research reporting that the loss per minute for casino games (£1.12) is higher than slots (31.8p). Given that most casino games already take longer to play, this means the introduction of a minimum speed which would reduce intensity for casino games needs to be higher than the minimum 2.5 seconds for slots. We saw from our assessment of the introduction of the minimum speed for slots some evidence of reduced intensity without causing unintended consequences to the games and we are aiming for a similar outcome for other casino products. We will continue to monitor the situation for casino games.

It is important to note that the introduction of a minimum speed for other casino products is not made in isolation but as part of a package of measures aimed at reducing risk from online gambling. This includes the proposals for financial risk checks which were consulted on at the same time as these changes. We are mindful that there may be displacement of gambling activity caused by the introduction of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) stake cap for slots, or from changes introduced by these game design requirements. It is important to understand the cumulative effect of all these changes in order to assess the impact on casino games.

Games such as peer-to-peer poker and bingo last much longer on average compared with other casino games and last longer than the 5 seconds proposed. As such, we do not see the benefit of including these games in scope as some suggested. For clarity, poker games played against the house such as three card poker are included in scope.

We have decided to proceed with the introduction of a 5 second speed for non-slots titles. Therefore, we are introducing new requirement 14G to RTS 14 Responsible product design.

Games that are in scope for this requirement are permitted to finish faster than 5 seconds providing the next game cycle cannot be commenced until the full time has elapsed. This is to allow developers more flexibility in how the requirement is implemented and mirrors the existing requirement on slots.

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Requirement 14G - Casino (excluding peer-to-peer poker and Slots).

RTS requirement 14G

It must be a minimum of 5 seconds from the time a game is started until the next game cycle can be commenced. It must always be necessary to release and then depress the 'start button’ or take equivalent action to commence a game cycle.

RTS implementation guidance 14G

A game cycle starts when a player depresses the ‘start button’ or takes equivalent action to initiate the game and ends when all money or money’s worth staked or won during the game has been either lost or delivered to, or made available for collection by the player and the start button or equivalent becomes available to initiate the next game.

A player should commit to each game cycle individually, continued contact with a button, key or screen should not initiate a new game cycle.

Proposal 3: Autoplay

Proposals

We proposed extending the prohibition of autoplay that currently applies to slots to all online products.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal to prohibit autoplay for all online products? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents’ view

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. Gambling operators raised some concerns about the impact on live casino games due to their limited window to place a bet, ‘auto dabbing’ for bingo and the auto-posting of blinds in peer-to-peer poker games.

Respondents commented as follows:

Our position

Autoplay is widely regarded to be a source of increased risk for gambling consumers according to gambling research such as Parke, Parke and Blaszczynski (2016) that found the lack of (physical) interaction facilitated by autoplay, such as even pressing a button, reduces likelihood of mental engagement.

We prioritised new requirements for slots as they are considered a relatively high-risk product, responsible for the bulk of consumer losses (around 77 percent of remote casino Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) according to our industry statistics) and played faster and more repetitively than other game types. However, in doing so we did not delineate other casino products as ‘lower risk’ nor does available evidence suggest such products are. The Patterns of Play research estimated that non-slots casino products had the fastest loss rate of all products, despite the gameplay being generally slower (£1.12 per minute).

We are mindful that features which improve the quality of user experience and do not pose an obvious risk should not be restricted. This is why features such as ‘re-bet’ were not in scope of our proposals. Such a feature enables a customer to place the same bet as the previous game cycle without individually placing the same chips (bets) but still requires an active choice by a consumer on each game cycle. Such a feature enables games with shorter betting windows, such as live casino games, to function smoothly without the need for autoplay. As a result, we see no convincing reason to exclude live casino games from scope.

Auto-dabbing in bingo games was not caught by the proposal. The wording of the proposed provision requires that each game cycle is committed to individually which is not relevant to the marking of numbers drawn during a bingo game that a customer has already committed to by purchasing an entry. The proposal did not seek to restrict the purchase of individual bingo tickets for scheduled games.

The wording of the proposal also did not capture the auto-posting of blinds in peer-to-peer poker tournaments for a similar reason. However, we are mindful that it could be interpreted as excluding the functionality from cash table poker games which we received calls for clarity on. The posting of blinds does not occur every hand and so does not incur a cost to the consumer until play rotates to their position, unlike other games.. We have therefore provided implementation guidance within the Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS) to reiterate our intention that this is not caught.

As was the case for slots, removing auto-play actively inserts friction and provides less opportunity for simultaneous play across multiple products. This is of particular importance given the introduction of a 5 second minimum speed for casino products which could be circumvented by using auto-play across multiple games.

We are committed to giving consideration to potential equalities impacts, having regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. As part of the consultation, we acknowledged the response to our earlier consultation on removing autoplay from slots games, and the potential impact that removing the autoplay function may have on consumers with disabilities or specific health conditions, and invited further views and evidence linked to extending the ban to other online casino games. A small number of respondents raised this issue.

While we recognise that our proposals may present a challenge for those players, they would also be exposed to the risks associated with autoplay, and having carefully considered the evidence we have, we have proceeded with the change.

We have introduced the requirement to prohibit autoplay for all online gaming products. A line of guidance has been included in the RTS which makes clear that the auto-posting of blinds in peer-to-peer poker is not caught by this requirement.

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Gaming (including bingo).

RTS aim 8A

To make clear that auto-play cannot be offered for online gaming.

RTS guidance 8A

This requirement does not prohibit offering functionality to automatically post blinds in peer-to-peer poker.

Proposal 4: Effects that give the illusion of 'false wins'

Proposals

We proposed to extend the prohibition of celebrating wins less than or equal to stake to all casino products.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal to prohibit celebrating wins that are less than or equal to stake for all casino products? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents' views

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. Gambling operators raised a concern about the potential impact on live casino games due to croupiers talking to customers which may include celebratory language. They also sought clarity on the audio element of the existing remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) requirement and how this may impact non-slots games.

Respondents commented as follows:

Our position

In our response to the slots consultation, we provided clarity on the word 'win' and removed explicit reference to it in the requirement. This is stated here to provide clarity that the word 'win' is not itself the issue that this proposal was seeking to address.

Operators should consider the purpose of the messages and ensure they meet the aims. For example, it seems clear that win messages are designed to inform the customer about the result of a bet and to do so in a positive way to improve the mood of the consumer. Positive reinforcement of returns below stake is the core concept of what this proposal was seeking to remove. Operators could do more to ensure the messages that customers receive are informative and accurate by specifying the overall amount that a customer has won, or as some respondents suggested, by making it clear when a customer has lost. This is particularly relevant for new games being developed.

It was of some concern to read responses from industry explaining that in some live casino games the croupier does not know whether the amount won by a customer is above their initial stake and so may inadvertently celebrate a win that was not above their stake. This does not indicate a good customer experience and appears as though it could be improved with technology easily. We encourage operators to consider improvements to ensure transparent and accurate information is provided to customers. Equally, if a croupier is celebrating wins at a table played by multiple people and it is not clear to customers who the dealer is referring to, we consider this to be something that can be easily resolved with better communication.

The wording of the proposal required the ‘gambling system’ not to celebrate a return which is less than or equal to the total stake gambled using audio or visual effects. While a croupier is an integral part of the delivery of live casino games, they were not in scope of the proposal.

The Commission will continue to monitor casino games including live dealer games and consider further action if necessary.

Our guidance 14F part (a) states that ‘the use of auditory or visual effects that are associated with a win are not permitted for returns which are less than or equal to last total amount staked’. The addition of part b iii was meant to aid understanding that a sound which is used to celebrate wins should not be used for returns below or equal to stake. However, this does not mean that a game which only has one sound needs to be redeveloped.

As this line of proposed guidance appeared to be causing unnecessary concern, we have decided to remove it from the final guidance.

We have extended requirement 14F from slots only to all casino, and this will apply from the commencement date.

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Casino.

RTS requirement 14F

The gambling system must not celebrate a return which is less than or equal to the total stake gambled.

RTS implementation guidance 14F

  1. By ‘celebrate’ we mean the use of auditory or visual effects that are associated with a win are not permitted for returns which are less than or equal to last total amount staked.
  2. The following items provide guidelines for reasonable steps to inform the customer of the result of their game cycle:
    1. Display of total amount awarded.
    2. Winning lines displayed for a short period of time that will be considered sufficient to inform the customer of the result. This implementation should not override any of the display requirements (as set out in RTS 7E1).
    3. Brief sound to indicate the result of the game and transfer to player balance.

Proposal 5: Operator-led simultaneous products

Proposals

We proposed to widen the restriction on operator-led functionality to play multiple simultaneous games to all gaming (including bingo) and betting on virtual events.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with extending the proposal to prohibit operator-led functionality which enables playing multiple simultaneous games to all gaming products? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents’ views

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. Gambling operators raised key concerns with the impact on bingo and peer-to-peer poker games.

Respondents commented as follows:

Our position

Our consultations on game design have focused on features which can speed up play or increase the intensity of gambling products.

This proposal was not seeking to prevent customers who have an open bet from gambling on another product until that bet was settled. It was focused on operator-led functionality which facilitates playing multiple games simultaneously.

Playing multiple games of roulette, blackjack or other similar casino games increases the gambling intensity of the customer and functionality which makes it easier to gamble on multiple products simultaneously could also be seen as a way to circumvent restrictions on speed of play. Given the high loss rate associated with even short sessions of casino games it seems entirely inappropriate to permit such functionality.

From a recent survey the Gambling Commission conducted, respondents with a Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score of 8 or more were more likely to report playing online casino games on multiple tabs and/or accounts (51 percent) than respondents that scored 3 to 7 (24 percent), 1 to 2 (14 percent) or 0 (12 percent) on the PGSI.

We agree that bingo games which do not allow further entries are not played simultaneously along with other products. Betting products are not played simultaneously either and as noted this proposal was not looking to prevent customers with open bets from other gambling. We have considered views on the impact of including bingo and peer-to-peer poker in scope for this proposal. We are mindful that restricting functionality for bingo games may lead to an increase in complaints due to the removal of expected functionality.

Similar arguments apply to the inclusion of peer-to-peer poker. Poker is a slower game where consumers may be waiting a while before they bet on a hand. This means where secondary games are played, they are unlikely to be simultaneous. As the Patterns of Play research (opens in new tab) found, ‘Poker also stands out as a time-intensive rather than money-intensive activity, with a rate of spending of 18.9 pence per minute’.

We are also aware that restricting operator-led functionality which facilitates playing a second game type would not remove this risk as determined online consumers would still be able to play multiple products at the same time using multiple accounts.

For these reasons we have removed bingo, virtual betting and peer-to-peer poker from the scope of this requirement following consultation.

The final requirement will apply to casino only (excluding peer-to-peer poker).

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Casino (excluding peer-to-peer poker).

Remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) requirement 14C

The gambling system must not offer functionality which facilitates playing multiple games at the same time.

RTS implementation guidance 14C

  1. Operators are not permitted to offer functionality designed to allow players to play multiple games at the same time. This includes, but is not limited to, split screen or multi-screen functionality.
  2. Combining multiple games in a way which facilitates simultaneous play is not permitted.

Proposal 6: Display of net position and time spent

Proposals

We proposed to extend the requirements to display net time and spend to all casino products (excluding peer to peer poker).

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal to require elapsed time and net position information for all casino products? Please give your reasons for your answer.

Respondents’ views

Most respondents agreed with the proposal including the majority of respondents representing a gambling business.

Respondents commented as follows:

Our position

Casino games (other than slots) have the fastest loss rate associated with any gambling product according to the Patterns of Play data. We also saw from our responses to our recent survey that 28 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that they had recently experienced a ‘binge’ while playing online casino games and 24 percent that they spend more money playing online casino games than they can afford to lose. The reported ‘binge’ figure is similar to the 24 percent our previous survey found when asking a similar question about gambling on slots. This data and the consultation responses from consumers indicate that [significant proportions of] those playing online casino games would benefit from enhanced information about their time and money spent.

There were no substantive reasons given why we should not proceed to introduce this proposed requirement to other casino games as well as support across stakeholders of all types. The idea that displaying elapsed time may discourage longer sessions on live casino games is not a persuasive argument that customers would be unduly affected, time spent gambling and session length is a long-established risk indicator (which is noted in our customer interaction guidance). We saw in our assessment of similar changes made to slots that the proportion of sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased in the period following implementation.

There were comments about how the information (which is already required for slots) would be more useful if it was made more prominent, either periodically or in general. Operators should note this this and consider whether their display of information is as user friendly as possible. If we find that this information has not been as useful to consumers due to the way it is implemented on some websites, we may revisit the wording of the requirement and look to be more prescriptive.

We have decided to introduce the requirement as proposed in the consultation to require elapsed time and net position to be provided for all casino products (excluding peer to peer poker).

Final wording

This requirement will come into force on 17 January 2025.

Applies to: Casino (excluding peer to peer poker).

RTS requirement 2E

All gaming sessions must clearly display a customer’s net position, in the currency of their account or product (for example, pounds sterling, dollar, euro) since the session started.

RTS implementation guidance 2E

Net position is defined as the total of all winnings minus the sum of all losses since the start of the session.

RTS requirement 13C

The elapsed time should be displayed for the duration of the gaming session.

RTS implementation guidance 13C

  1. Time displayed should begin either when the game is opened or once play commences.
  2. Elapsed time should be displayed in seconds, minutes and hours.

Proposal 7: Information security standards

Proposals

We identified one of the new controls in International Organization for Standardization (ISO)27001:2022 as particularly pertinent to remote gambling and proposed to include it in the remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) as a control for future security audits:

5.23 Information security for use of cloud services

Consultation questions

To what extent do you agree with the proposal to introduce one new section of the ISO27001 2022 standard as a requirement in RTS security audits? Do you think any of the other new controls from the ISO 27001 2022 update should be included in the security audit requirements?

Respondents’ views

The views from respondents’ were:

Our position

We have reconsidered the addition of controls 8.12 and 8.28.

Secure coding is a control aimed at instilling secure coding principles to software development. Our remote testing strategy already sets out good practice for in-house developing, testing and release of software which is based on the controls already included from ISO27001. The inclusion of this control does not appear to add much beyond what is already expected. We are not adding this control to the security audit requirements at this point in time.

Data leaking protection is aimed at mitigating the loss of sensitive data a process that is already covered by data protection laws and standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)1 . Other areas of ISO27001 already mitigate similar risks by requiring access to data to be controlled and cryptography is implemented where appropriate. We are not requiring the addition of this control to the security audit requirements at this point in time.

We have reviewed the new sections of the 2022 standard again and are proceeding as indicated in the consultation. We had not intended to introduce this update ahead of the end of the transitional window. We had received several queries from licensees about which standard they should be getting an audit against, so it was important to consult on updating the RTS to give stakeholders sufficient notice on changes.

We are aware that organisations that are fully certified against ISO27001:2013 standard have until 31 October 2025 to transition to the 2022 standard.

Our security audit requirements are a bespoke and more limited set of the ISO27001 controls and required to be completed on an annual basis. As an annual requirement, the last date for any licensee to complete a security audit against the 2013 standard will be 31 October 2024. All security audits conducted after 1 November 2024 must be conducted against the controls listed in the updated RTS which aligns with the 2022 standard. This means by 31 October 2025 all relevant licensees will have completed a security audit based on the 2022 standard.

For clarity, any security audit up to 31 October 2024 can be against either the 2013 or 2022 standard.

This extended period will give all relevant licensees time to prepare and ensure they are audited correctly.

Final wording

These changes will come into effect on 31 October 2024. This means any annual security audit conducted after 1 November 2024 must be to the updated 2022 standard.

The final wording of the new security audit requirements can be found in section 4 of the RTS. This section lists the relevant controls of the 2013 standard transposed to the numbering of the 2022 standard with the addition of the control we consulted on, 5.23 ‘Information security for use of cloud services’.


1The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Costs, timings and testing of games

Some operators cited large numbers of games that may require retesting if the proposals from our consultation became requirements. As a reminder of our testing strategy, an update that does not impact game fairness is referred to as a minor update and can be released without the need for external retesting.

Removing features which are added on top of games can likely be achieved without updates to critical game files and are unlikely to need external testing. Some of the quotes for costs associated with these proposals appear to be based on creating new titles rather than updates and as a result appear high. The costs also depend on how an operator chooses to implement the new requirements. As pointed out in the ‘speed of play’ section, games that are in scope for that requirement are permitted to finish faster than 5 seconds providing the next game cycle cannot be commenced until the full time has elapsed. This is to allow developers more flexibility in how the requirement is implemented and mirrors the existing requirement on slots.

Industry respondents typically asked for between 6 to 12 months to implement the proposals. The Gambling Commission has responded to stakeholder feedback to ensure the final requirements can be implemented smoothly. We are mindful that with multiple consultations impacting industry, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) stake cap for slots there may be competing priorities for a development team. In order to account for these pressures, the implementation date for the updated ISO standards is 31 October 2024 and all other requirements has been set as 17 January 2025.

Topic 4 - Financial vulnerability checks: Consultation Response and Financial risk assessments pilot: Consultation Response

Summary of checks overall - Financial vulnerability and financial risk

We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm.

We want to prevent some of the very serious cases we have seen where customers were able to spend large amounts in short spaces of time without any checks resulting in significant gambling harm. Customers have the freedom to spend their money as they wish, so long as vulnerable customers are not being exploited and all customers are supported to make informed choices.

We are therefore working towards a new, proportionate and frictionless system of checks to make processes smoother and better for customers. We do not seek to mandate a cap on gambling, or to interrupt the customer journey unnecessarily, and the checks would not impact on a customer’s credit score.

We consulted on 2 types of checks which would work as a package together to identify customers at risk of harm amongst the highest spending customers - the light-touch financial vulnerability check to consider things like bankruptcy and the financial risk assessment to consider credit reference data and identify potential consumer risk.

We value the consultation responses we have received. We have been listening carefully to the voices of consumers and other stakeholders. We have made some changes to our proposals following consultation, working with government and other interested parties.

Following consultation, we are introducing a light-touch and frictionless financial vulnerability check to consider publicly available data for things like bankruptcy. This will be implemented in 2 stages, and we have focused the check on publicly available data. Some operators already conduct such checks.

We are committed to improving customer experience with the proposed financial risk assessments. We consider customer experience can be improved with a frictionless system based on data sharing that helps identify risk for the highest spending customers. But we will not roll out the assessments until we are satisfied that the data-sharing between credit reference agencies and gambling businesses can work well, and that the assessments can be conducted in a frictionless manner for the vast majority of customers who undergo them, without the customer providing documents.

We are therefore going to run a pilot with the largest operators to test the practical issues before a final decision is made on whether and how these assessments take place. The pilot will assess the type of data that will be used to inform a customer’s risk assessment. For example, credit reference agencies, could share information on any credit arrears a customer has without customers needing to submit documents. Gambling operators will never have access to raw account level data, for example they would not be able to look at customers’ bank accounts.

Consumers will not be affected during a pilot period.

We are proceeding with this pilot of the frictionless financial risk assessments to inform whether and how these assessments could be introduced. Whilst final decisions will not be made until after the pilot period, the government’s White Paper estimated that based on the thresholds set out in the consultation, the assessments would be conducted on approximately 3 percent of active customers and that only 0.3 percent of active customer accounts would be unable to receive a frictionless check.This could be, for example, if a person does not have a credit history.

Light-touch financial vulnerability checks: summary

These are checks which some operators already carry out and therefore do not need to be piloted. They are very light-touch and conducted without interruption to the customer journey unless concerns are identified. The checks will identify financial vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts. They will focus solely on publicly available data and, following feedback through the consultation, we are not requiring gambling businesses to consider an individual’s personal details such as postcode or job title.

Following consultation, we have focused on the monthly threshold rather than also including an annual threshold as a minimum requirement. This is because we consider that the vast majority of those that would trigger an annual threshold would have previously triggered a monthly threshold. We also consider that a customer with a consistent spend profile over the year is less likely to be experiencing financial distress associated with gambling if there are no other indicators of harm. Finally, we have made some detailed amendments to the provision relating to definitions and clarifying how the data may be processed, considering practical issues raised by gambling businesses. For example, we have clarified that where there are no risk flags, the data may be processed automatically ensuring again that the customer journey is as smooth as possible.

To ease the introduction of these checks, they will initially come into force at a higher threshold of £500 net deposits in a rolling 30 days from 30 August 2024, before reducing to a lower threshold of £150 net deposits in a rolling 30 days on 28 February 2025, to smooth implementation for consumers. We will evaluate the impact of these checks and will continue to keep thresholds and other details under review. We have set out more information about the approach to evaluation on our website.

Further detail is set out in Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks.

Frictionless financial risk assessments: summary

The consultation proposal was for enhanced financial risk assessments informed by credit reference data at unusually high loss levels where the risks are greater.

We proposed frictionless financial risk assessments to make processes smoother and better for customers while providing operators with better quality data to make informed decisions to minimise harm where necessary.

The government’s White Paper (opens in new tab) estimated that based on the thresholds set out in the consultation, the assessments would be conducted on approximately 3 percent of active customers and that only 0.3 percent of active customer accounts would be unable to receive a frictionless check. This could be, for example, if a person does not have a credit history.

We recognise the interest the proposal for these assessments has attracted, and we therefore asked in the consultation how these assessments could be introduced in a careful manner. Many people supported the idea of a pilot to further test how data sharing between gambling operators and credit agencies works in practice. We agree and have decided that a pilot and data collection period is the appropriate way to proceed.

We are proceeding cautiously with a pilot of the financial risk assessments for approximately a 6-month period (plus time for reporting). The pilot will not affect any consumers and will enable us to make decisions about how financial risk assessments could be introduced.

This new frictionless and improved system would help identify financial risk for the highest spending customers and improve existing customer experience. But we intend to target checks at the highest spenders, and we do not intend to consider rolling out the assessments until we are satisfied that the data-sharing is frictionless as intended for the vast majority of customers who are checked.

Customers will not be affected during a pilot period to make sure that we can refine the data sharing processes before considering whether the assessments would be rolled out in a live environment. The pilot will test out the different forms of data available to consider what is helpful and meaningful in the gambling context.

We are therefore publishing this consultation response relating to the pilot approach. The Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) provision is set out in this response. If the pilot progresses well, we will then consider whether these frictionless checks for the vast majority of customers who undergo them should be rolled out in a live environment.

The decision to introduce any final financial risk assessments will be subject to the findings from the pilot and data collection period. We intend to publish a final and full response to the consultation with our decision, which we expect will not be until at least 2025 (following the pilot period).

The pilot will enable us to test the details of data-sharing in practice, working with credit reference agencies and gambling businesses, thinking always about what this means for the consumer journey for gambling and betting consumers. The data collection will help us further assess the impact of the proposed changes on the industry and consumers, including the proportion of customers that may in the future undergo an assessment, to ensure that the assessments would be appropriately targeted if they are rolled out in a live environment in the future.

For the purposes of the pilot, we consider it reasonable that the largest operators are required to participate. We have therefore decided to require operators in the highest 3 relevant bands of operating licence fee categories, with a significant proportion of market share. We consider that this group will provide us with sufficient information during the pilot period to inform decision-making whilst also imposing any burden for operators on those with the largest resources and those most likely to be able to participate in a pilot easily and effectively.

We will additionally seek volunteers from operators outside of these fee bands to participate. While we think it is important to offer the opportunity for some medium or smaller operators to contribute to the pilot, we did not consider it proportionate to require smaller operators to do so.

The pilot provision will be set out in the LCCP and is detailed further below in this response.

The pilot will commence at the end of August 2024, and should we then decide to fully implement the assessments, they would not be introduced in a live environment before 2025.

Further detail about the pilot and our next steps are out in Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments.

Introduction - Financial vulnerability and financial risk

The response for this topic provides a summary of the key inputs to our decision making on both financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments. During this programme of work, we continued engagement with government, Parliament, other domestic and international regulators, the financial sector, industry and bodies and individuals with an interest in gambling.

A summary of the responses to the 2023 consultation on the topic of financial vulnerability and financial risk

We received close to 2000 written responses to the 2023 consultation on this topic. The majority of respondents were members of the public, with large numbers of them stating that they are gambling consumers responding as individuals and that their gambling would meet one of the thresholds for financial vulnerability checks or financial risk assessments.

A summary of the responses to the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence exercise

This part of our response covers responses to the 2020 to 2021 exercise on the topic of financial risk checks. The other proposals from that consultation and call for evidence exercise were covered in our earlier response to the 2020 to 2021 consultation, which introduced new remote customer interaction requirements, whilst the financial risk content was earlier covered by our update on our next steps following the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence exercise.

A summary of new research, data and evidence

Consumer research

During the consultation period, we sought views of consumers on the specific policy proposals from our 2023 consultation through both the consultation exercise and through our consumer research.

This research is part of our Consumer Voice programme, where we use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather views, opinions, and insights from gambling consumers. This Consumer Voice work complements our nationally representative statistics on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling but goes into more depth on key issues and emerging areas of interest. As part of this Consumer Voice work, we considered it important to progress consumer research to augment the consumer perspectives in the consultation. This brought in additional perspectives from the consumer in response to the proposals and allowed more in-depth exploration of the issues with a range of consumers. Alongside this response, we published the consumer research which we commissioned.

Updated YouGov data on discretionary income

The 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence on remote customer interaction included information about average discretionary income from YouGov. This indicated the average levels of discretionary income per calendar month of different age groups as at January 2020. In each age group, there are individuals who have very limited discretionary income. In this response, we provide updated information about average discretionary income as at February 2024, which we have obtained from YouGov.

Open banking data modelling

Open banking protocols enable individuals’ financial data to be shared between banks and third-party service providers.

In 2023 the Gambling Commission purchased a sample of open banking data from YouGov Finance. This dataset includes the details of banking transactions from 4,000 individuals in Great Britain, each of whom have given their consent for their data to be used for research. It comprises over 12 million individual transactions, of which 253,916 are non-lottery gambling transactions, by 2,034 unique gamblers. At least one year of transactions is available for each gambler, with an average of 966 days and a standard deviation of 222 days. The data spans the period up to August 2023.

This publication sets out the results of an analysis of open banking data. A data modelling approach was taken to consider the proportion of individuals whose rate of gambling spend exceeded certain thresholds. We consider the overlap between the groups of individuals exceeding the different thresholds, as well as whether the thresholds are still reached when considering spend at each gambling operator separately compared to overall gambling spend.

Alongside this response, we published a technical report on the open banking data-modelling exercise.

Background - Financial vulnerability and financial risk

The Gambling Act 2005 sets out statutory objectives, which includes protection of children and vulnerable people. The Gambling Commission has been working with government to consider the role of checks to understand if a customer’s online gambling is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances, in the form of 2 types of checks: financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

We want to prevent some of the serious cases we have seen such as where customers were able to spend large amounts in short spaces of time without any checks, or where customers who are bankrupt get no support. We think we can improve customer experience with a frictionless system based on data sharing that helps identify risk for the highest spending customers.

In 2020 to 2021 the Commission conducted a consultation and call for evidence exercise (opens in new tab) on the topic of remote customer interaction, including on unaffordable gambling. The findings from the consultation part of this exercise were set out in our response to the 2020 to 2021 consultation on customer interaction, and resulted in new customer interaction requirements which were introduced over the period 2022 to 2023. We also published an update on our next steps following the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence exercise, setting out the 3 key risks that we continued to seek to address:

In the update, we stated that we would continue to work closely with government to feed in advice and evidence to the government’s Review of the Gambling Act 2005 - recognising that broader public policy questions about how to protect people from harm would be considered as part of that review. We provided formal Advice to Government in 2023, including on the topic of financial risk checks.

In April 2023, government published the White Paper following the Gambling Act Review - High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age (opens in new tab). In this paper, government stated that ‘we consider it necessary to put new obligations on operators to conduct checks to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be unaffordable and harmful’. Government also set out their views on what thresholds should be consulted on namely:

In more detail, the proposals set out in both the White Paper and the Commission’s consultation were as follows.

Light-touch financial vulnerability checks

The first proposal was putting in place a standard approach to conduct light-touch checks to identify customers who may be particularly financially vulnerable (a financial vulnerability check). These are unintrusive checks, using publicly available data at moderate levels of spend. Some larger operators already conduct such checks for all customers at registration, and others do so at some point in the customer journey.

In the Commission’s consultation, we proposed these are conducted at £125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period or £500 within a rolling 365-day period, which we and government estimated would reach approximately 20 percent of customer accounts and identify vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts.

Frictionless financial risk assessments

The second proposal was an enhanced financial risk assessment at unusually high loss levels where the risks are greater. These assessments were proposed to be informed by credit reference agency data. We proposed them to apply where there are losses greater than £1,000 within a rolling 24 hours or £2,000 within a rolling 90-day period. We also proposed that the triggers for enhanced assessments should be lower for those aged 18 to 24 years old.

In our update on our next steps following the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence exercise, we also stated that we would continue to engage with consumers, the financial sector and the gambling industry on the information about customers that should be available to gambling businesses, in order to assess financial risk. In July 2023, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published its consideration of the role of financial risk assessments and confirmed that data protection law does not stop gambling companies from conducting financial risk checks on customers, and that lenders can share people’s personal information – but this must be done transparently and proportionately. This was set out in a letter to finance body UK Finance and published on the ICO website (opens in new tab).

In December 2023, the Steering Committee on Reciprocity (SCOR) (opens in new tab)1, which is a cross industry forum made up of representatives from credit industry trade associations, credit industry bodies and credit reference agencies, approved a ‘specific and targeted exemption’ to the Principles of Reciprocity (PoR). This allows closed user group data to be shared on a limited basis with gambling operators in relation to consumers who have reached a financial threshold, to be prescribed by the Commission. While data is allowed to be shared with the gambling industry, the exemption provides that this is a one-way flow of data and no gambling consumer transactional data will be shared with the finance sector. The detail about financial risk assessments within the Principles of Reciprocity (opens in new tab) can be found from page 28.

In July 2023, we progressed the commitment to consult set out in the White Paper and in our Advice to Government and took forward our Summer 2023 consultation, including remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk proposals (opens in new tab) where we proposed new obligations on operators to conduct checks to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances. We noted that it was important that these checks would be seen within a gambling business’s overall approach to identifying risk of harm and taking action to prevent gambling harm.

As identified in our earlier work, the proposals were designed to tackle 3 key risks of gambling harm:

These had been particularly evident in our casework with remote gambling operators. To tackle these risks, we worked with government, and we proposed 2 checks, in the form of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

Over the whole period of this work (with a call for evidence, government review and white paper and our Summer 2023 consultation), the proposals for financial risk checks attracted a great deal of interest from a range of stakeholders. Many stakeholders, such as industry trade bodies, some operators, licensing authorities and other bodies supported the principles of both of the proposed types of checks but had comments and concerns on certain detailed aspects of the proposals.

Some gambling consumers, many people with lived experience of gambling harms and some academics supported the checks but stated that they considered that the proposals did not go far enough. Some of these respondents suggested that the thresholds for checks should be lower, or even for all customers, or that the process of checks should be managed by a third party.

However, the proposals were opposed by some stakeholders, particularly within the racing and betting community, who considered that the proposals would harm racing and were not proportionate or reasonable either on a point of principle or at the levels proposed.

Whilst we do not have figures on the number of consumer respondents to the consultations that came specifically from the perspective of betting and racing, it was clear that many of the consumer respondents were interested in this aspect and had concerns of one form or other. Within the consumer respondents, amongst both those who had a racing perspective and others, there were many who still supported the principles of the proposals but did not agree with the details. In particular, the details that they disagreed with were the potential thresholds of the checks, the nature of data to be included in either of the checks, or they raised concerns that they would be burdensome or not frictionless or that they might be introduced without further testing. Some respondents proposed that the checks should only apply to gambling on certain products, such as online slots.

There was, however, some confusion from some respondents to our consultation and call for evidence exercises, often exacerbated by the fact that those respondents had heard about the proposals via campaigns and trade publications where the details were not fully covered or could be confusing. For example, some consumers had received the impression that all customer accounts would undergo the checks whereas it was proposed that only a proportion of the highest-spending accounts would have checks. Others had received the impression that the checks proposed were more like a cap on gambling, regardless of the financial circumstances of the customer. The proposals however were not to act as a cap and were designed to consider overall risk for the customer and take account of any specific financial risk for the customer. In September 2023, we made available some information on our website to answer some of the common queries or areas of confusion in a Commission Blog.

Alongside the Summer 2023 consultation, we commissioned consumer research to gain greater insights from gambling customers about the proposals in the Summer 2023 consultation. This Consumer Voice work has brought in additional perspectives and allowed more in-depth exploration of the issues with a range of consumers. Alongside this response, we published the results of the consumer research relating to financial risk which we commissioned.

We have listened carefully and considered responses to the consultation, alongside our evidence and consumer research. With government confirmation that our approach is in line with the White Paper, we have decided to implement the light-touch financial vulnerability checks in 2 stages and we can also update that we will conduct a pilot and data collection for the enhanced financial risk assessments.

Further detail is set out in:
Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks
Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments


1SCOR will be undergoing a transition following the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) ongoing Credit Information Market Study (CIMS). As part of this work, a new Credit Reporting Governance Body (CRGB) is being established which will oversee how credit data is collected and shared in the future. The FCA will be coordinating the setting-up of the CRGB with the assistance of an Interim Working Group, which includes both industry and consumer representatives.

Summary of the responses to the 2023 consultation on financial vulnerability and financial risk

On 26 July 2023 we issued our Summer 2023 consultation, including proposals on the topic of remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 1,965 written responses to the Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk part of the consultation, from the following categories of respondents:

Consultation questions

The 2023 consultation explored issues associated with both types of checks, including:

  • the thresholds for checks and assessments
  • the definitions of net loss connected with those thresholds
  • the data to be included in each check or assessment
  • how long the data remains relevant
  • the action an operator must take following a check or assessment and while it is pending
  • data protection considerations
  • considerations associated with implementation
  • equalities considerations
  • impact assessment.

A copy of the consultation questions is available.

Respondents’ views

Overall views

Many respondents across this consultation topic disagreed with the overall principle of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

The majority of respondents were members of the public, with large numbers of them stating that they are gambling consumers responding as individuals and that their gambling would meet one of the thresholds for financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

These respondents shared their concerns about the impact on their freedom to spend their money on what they like, often referring to other industries that are not regulated in this way, or sharing examples of other purchases they make that equate to the same amount (such as a daily cup of coffee costing more than the thresholds which had been set out for the light-touch financial vulnerability checks).

Some stated that they would move their gambling to the unregulated market, or their belief that others would do this.

Many stated concerns about their data and privacy, that they did not want gambling companies accessing their information. Some shared concerns that gambling businesses would use the data to restrict or close winning accounts.

Many shared their fears of how they felt the proposals would impact on horseracing and how, in turn, friction or anything like a gambling cap might affect many people who enjoy gambling as a hobby that contributes towards their wellbeing. Some suggested variations by product – suggesting online casino or slots games are a higher risk and that betting on horse racing, for example, should be exempt.

Gambling businesses often stated that they supported the principles of the consultation, but they did not fully support the detailed proposals and often requested further information or stated that they could not respond fully until the assessments were piloted or further tested. These respondents generally did not support the proposed use of postcode or job title to inform risk assessment.

Many referenced the white paper commitment that checks and assessments should be ‘frictionless’, questioning whether the detail in the white paper and/or the consultation proposals truly fulfilled that. Many also questioned the evidence base for the proposals.

Charities, often representing people with lived experience, and some academics suggested that the proposals were fully justified due to the risks to consumers, and in some cases suggested that the checks and assessments were not sufficient to prevent harm or should go further. For example, some suggested that the threshold amounts for the financial risk assessments were ‘too high’ and that it would be ‘too late’ to protect people from gambling harm by the time they reached them.

The responses overall indicated some potential confusion about the proposals – there persisted a false impression that the proposals amounted to a default cap on gambling and a false understanding that the proposals would affect a customer’s credit rating.

Views on implementation approach

Some respondents stated that the Gambling Commission should implement quickly in this area. This included people with lived experience and a respondent on behalf of a charity who raised concerns that ‘any delay will risk lives’.

However, while gambling businesses were mostly supportive of a pilot approach, many requested that the pilot and any implementation gave them ‘sufficient’ time in order to not overwhelm them. Suggestions were for a pilot to last at least 6 months.  

Some raised concerns about the impact on smaller gambling businesses and the time it will take them to implement any changes, as they have less resources. Some suggested consideration of seasonality and particular gambling events be made for implementation, including one smaller gambling business who said this was a significant factor for how they allocated resources.

General views on light-touch financial vulnerability checks

The large majority of consumer responses to the questions about financial vulnerability checks raised the same overall concerns.

Many stated that they considered the proposed thresholds were too low, and compared the thresholds with other things they spend their money on. Conversely some suggested that checks should be undertaken on every customer at account opening.

Some respondents did agree to the proposals, on the basis that they were ‘frictionless’ and did not impact people’s gambling journey or credit score. There was some support for the use of publicly available data for the financial vulnerability checks, though also concerns about proportionality of action that might be taken as a result of the check. A theoretical example of this was someone who might be restricted who had received a County Court Judgment (CCJ) for a parking fine.

Some gambling businesses shared that they were already conducting these types of checks and shared their experiences of doing this, including using the already publicly available data. Many gambling businesses did not agree with the proposals to include job title or postcode.

Respondents from organisations, such as charities and non-profits, supported the proposals for the financial vulnerability checks. One said that, at the £125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period level the check would ‘enable a history of significant financial difficulty to be identified at an early stage and enable gambling operators to engage and intervene before inappropriate and unaffordable losses escalate’.

Light-touch financial vulnerability checks - further details on key themes

Thresholds at which a light-touch financial vulnerability check should take place

Many respondents stated that both of the proposed thresholds in the consultation (£125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period or £500 within a rolling 365-day period) were too low.

Conversely, some respondents said the thresholds were too high or suggested the checks should be undertaken for every customer at account opening. Some charity or non-profit respondents said the amounts were high losses for many of the people they support with gambling harm. Some also suggested that 365 days was too long. Some noted that for some customers, these amounts could affect quality of life, given the low amounts of discretionary income for these customers.

Data to be used for a check

The majority of respondents across both members of the public and gambling businesses disagreed with the proposed inclusion of aggregated data in relation to a customer’s stated employment status and job title and cross-referencing to open source data about the average income for that occupation.

Respondents often considered this aggregated data would be potentially misleading and therefore unhelpful in understanding risk for the individual. In relation to postcode, many shared examples of wide disparities in financial security within a postcode area.

In relation to job roles and salaries, respondents again considered that the information would not be sufficiently tailored to the individual as salaries can vary significantly for the same job and salary ranges can be quite wide providing a potentially misleading picture.

As gambling businesses do not routinely collect information about job titles and salaries some commented that the addition of this information would add friction, as they would need to start collecting the data, and was therefore not in line with the proposal of ‘frictionless’ checks.

One professional organisation suggested that Debt Relief Orders (opens in new tab) should be one of the publicly available data points considered.

Validity of a check

The consultation proposed that a check would not need to be repeated during a 12 month period, even if the customer hit the threshold again. Responses were mixed on this 12 month time-frame for the validity of a financial vulnerability check.

Some gambling businesses shared their experiences of already conducting financial vulnerability checks and that they did not see customer’s financial circumstances changing substantially in this timeframe.

Conversely some respondents, including charities and non-profits, and bodies in the financial sector said that people’s circumstances do change quickly, such as following divorce, job loss or health issues.

Action following a check

The consultation proposed that a gambling business could continue to accept deposits and allow gambling to continue whilst a financial vulnerability check took place. This was on the basis that a frictionless and light-touch check would be administered quickly and that increased risk to the customer would be limited due to this speed. We asked questions about whether it was necessary to specify the timeframe in which a check would be conducted.

Responses were mixed on whether it is proportionate that deposits and gambling may continue while a financial vulnerability check takes place. Those in agreement stated that they believed it delivered on the mandate for checks to be ‘frictionless’. Of those who disagreed, many were against the checks overall. Some considered it ‘negligent’ to not stop people from gambling while checks took place and that it could reduce further harm being caused or give people a ‘cool off’ period.

Responses were also mixed on whether a requirement for a timeframe for a financial vulnerability check to be completed would be necessary. Individual respondents said transparency is important to avoid uncertainty for consumers. Gambling businesses often said it was unnecessary as the checks can be carried out instantaneously in real-time.

Data protection considerations

Many individual respondents had concerns about data protection, including how the data would be stored and how long it would be retained for, whether gambling businesses will be sufficiently trained and/or monitored and whether they would misuse the data.

When asked if there should be specific record keeping requirements, gambling business respondents were mixed. Some said it would be onerous and unnecessary, where others said it would be helpful for them to be consistent and clarify the requirements for compliance purposes.

Individual respondents emphasised the need for consumer transparency, with some stating that they would want their records to be available to them and that they would be important if they wanted to appeal a decision.

Enhanced financial risk assessments

Many of the responses to the questions about enhanced financial risk assessments covered the same concerns identified overall, such as principled objection to any checks at all and the impact on the gambling industry, particularly horse racing.

Individual respondents raised concerns about whether the assessments would have an impact on their credit records and how their data would be protected when being processed by the gambling businesses.

There was some agreement overall, with some individual respondents (such as members of the public or people who work or previously worked for a gambling business but responding in an individual capacity) stating that these thresholds seemed ‘more sensible’ than the ones proposed for the financial vulnerability checks and that they should definitely ‘sound alarm bells’ for gambling businesses.

Charities and non-profit organisations often agreed in principle but suggested that the thresholds were too high and by the time someone had hit them they might be too late to prevent gambling harm.

Gambling businesses were split in their agreement and disagreement with the proposal for financial risk assessments. Even when they agreed in principle, many requested further information such as definitions of key terminology and guidance on how to practically implement the assessments, what actions to take when someone reaches them and more information on the requirement for manual review. Many shared examples of other work they are doing to protect vulnerable people.

Many gambling businesses stated that the assessments should be tested in a pilot and evaluated, with one describing the proposals as an ‘appropriate starting point’. This was referenced in relation to the definitions of net loss as well as the types of information that must or could be included in an enhanced financial risk assessment, with some stating they were unclear on what information a credit reference agency would or could provide until it is piloted.

The majority of all respondents disagreed with lower thresholds for those aged 18 to 24 years old. Members of the public often did so because of overall principled objections to the checks. Gambling businesses were more likely to agree than members of the public.

Some gambling businesses shared examples of how they already currently protect this age group, which they agreed demonstrated a ‘heightened risk’ and were ‘shown to be more vulnerable’. Some felt these existing voluntary protections to be sufficient, such as a greater level of customer interactions for this age group, and that mandated lower thresholds were not necessary.

Some individual respondents suggested the proposal would amount to ‘age discrimination’, that was unfair on responsible people in this age group who may have more disposable income due to living at home. Some respondents raised concerns about students spending their loans.

Equalities considerations

Many respondents expressed concerns about how these proposals would affect ‘credit invisibles’, such as people who may not be able to pass credit checks due to their lack of credit history or employment record. This could include homemakers, retirees, unemployed people, or those with low incomes. 

Members of the public shared similar concerns with gambling businesses in regard to protected characteristics and ‘credit invisibles’, expressing further concerns on grounds of discrimination against those with disabilities and ‘stereotypical’ views from aggregated postcode data causing class and race discrimination.

Impact

Many respondents suggested the importance of further consideration of practical implementation issues to assess impact and highlighted the importance of a pilot to understand more about how the checks would work in practice.

Details on our next steps is set out in:
Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks
Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments

Summary of the responses to the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence exercise

In February 2021, we closed a consultation and call for evidence (opens in new tab) on the steps operators should be required to take to identify customers at risk of harm and the action they should take as a result. We also conducted a short survey alongside this process.

As part of this, we proposed there would be additional requirements for specific indicators put in place for ‘unaffordable gambling’ in the future and sought views on this.

We proposed that operators must conduct defined 'affordability' assessments at thresholds set by the Gambling Commission. We also called for evidence on what the thresholds for these affordability assessments could be, the nature of these affordability assessments and how operators might be required to protect consumers following an assessment.

The majority of our proposals for significant and strengthened requirements on gambling businesses to identify customers at risk of harm and to take action as a result came into force on 12 September 2022.

We received around 13,000 responses (1,000 responses to our full consultation and call for evidence and 12,000 to our short survey). Responses came from a wide range of stakeholders – consumers, people with lived experience of harm, gambling businesses, academics, and others.

We carefully reviewed the responses. There were a wide range of views. Many people thought 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, there were significant concerns about privacy and freedom of choice.

On affordability, the key themes from the comments were that:

We planned to continue with a further consultation on identifying customers who are financially vulnerable and tackling significant unaffordable gambling. We set out our plans for this in our Consultation Response in April 2022.

Many also said that financial risk, vulnerability, and ‘affordability’ was of such public policy significance that it was for the government’s Gambling Act Review to consider. We listened to these views, and the question of assessing financial risk formed part of the government’s call for evidence, our formal advice, the White Paper and our Summer 2023 consultation.

A number of respondents, though stating they disagreed with the proposals, nevertheless made suggestions in line with the early proposals. This included:

Some of these respondents did not realise that their ideas were more in line with the proposals than they at first thought.

The thresholds for checks or assessments

In the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey we asked for evidence on what appropriate financial thresholds should be, as we had seen examples in our casework of them set too high, at tens of thousands of pounds.

Individual respondents (such as members of the public) shared their disapproval of checks overall, saying there should be no thresholds at all. Many shared examples of other sectors where there are no thresholds for example alcohol or shopping. Some suggested that customers should be able to set their own thresholds or that they should be allowed to increase them once they have provided proof of funds. It was also suggested there should be variations for categories such as:

A number of gambling businesses also raised concerns about the Commission setting thresholds at all, stating that they are ‘arbitrary’ and it is too difficult to determine a ‘relevant’ or ‘effective’ value. Some said that low level thresholds would have an impact on large numbers of customers and, if documents were required, would add friction to their customer journey.

Some stated that there was a risk of confusion and conflation with Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks and thresholds. Some highlighted the benefits of automation in early checks and shared examples of undertaking checks during registration or onboarding, rather than waiting for thresholds to be hit. This, they said, enabled earlier screening of customers for financial vulnerability and improved understanding of the customers earlier in the relationship.

Some raised concerns about customers circumventing thresholds by moving to different operators and setting up multiple accounts or moving to the unlicensed market. These were also raised by individual respondents such as members of the public, who stated they would do this to avoid checks.

Some respondents from organisations (such as charities and/or non-profits) agreed with thresholds of ‘around £100’ and shared evidence to support this. One suggested a trial phase would be useful to measure the impact.

The definitions of net loss connected with those thresholds

In the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey, we did not propose a definition of net loss. However, some suggestions were received from individual respondents, such as members of the public, including:

The data to be included in a check or assessment

In the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey we asked what information operators should obtain, as a minimum, to satisfy themselves that their customers are not gambling beyond their means.

Gambling businesses suggested a range of data including:

Some suggested operator data that would provide an important insight including:

Some shared their views on the importance of third-party providers (such as credit reference agencies) describing them as having access to a ‘wealth of factors from multiple data sources’. This, they suggested, would reduce the need to request documents from customers.

Some members of the public shared their concerns about sharing any data at all, and their lack of trust in gambling businesses to keep it secure. Others did however have suggestions for data they considered would be beneficial, such as credit scores and/or checks via a third party. Some also suggested that gambling businesses should use the data that they already have on player behaviour, such as betting patterns and spend patterns.

One charity and/or non-profit respondent suggested that the data should be similar to what would be required when applying for a loan or mortgage.

How long the data remains relevant

In the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey we asked how long an ‘affordability assessment’ should remain valid before a periodic reassessment, and what circumstances should prompt a review by exception.

From individual respondents, suggestions ranged from a week to 5 years, though many stated that the checks should not be implemented at all.

Gambling business respondents suggested 3 months, 6 months, or every 12 months, with some stating that life changes that affect ‘affordability’, such as house purchases or having children, happen over months not weeks. Many stated that a change in gambling behaviour would prompt a reassessment in any case.

The action an operator must take following a check or assessment and while this is pending

In the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey we asked about consumer reaction to a ‘handbrake’ or ‘hard stop’ requirement, where the operator is required to prevent further gambling unless an affordability assessment is undertaken and that shows that the level of gambling is affordable.

In response to this question, some members of the public raised concerns about the impact on their personal freedoms and suggested this would encourage them to gamble elsewhere (some said they would switch to another gambling business and open multiple accounts, some said they would switch to land-based, others to an illegal gambling business).

Conversely, some respondents suggested that this measure would prevent harm and save lives.

Gambling businesses stated that consumers would react very negatively, with many sharing examples of their customers objecting to being questioned about affordability and income.

Data protection considerations

Some respondents to the 2020 to 2021 consultation, call for evidence and short survey stated the importance of transparency for consumers about how and why their data will be used and shared. Some individual respondents shared concerns about trusting gambling businesses with keeping their information safe.

Some respondents, such as those from professional organisations, stated that the Commission must clearly tell gambling businesses how the data can and cannot be used (note: some of these responses were across other questions in the consultation and call for evidence that related to wider Customer Interaction requirements and vulnerability).

Considerations associated with implementation

Gambling business respondents to the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence stated that they required as much notice as possible to implement the changes, particularly for smaller businesses who raised challenges such as hiring resources and building tools in their technical systems. Some stated that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach would not work.

Some suggested it important that the Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) work in a ‘joined-up’ way.

Many requested an additional consultation specifically on ‘affordability’ be carried out, stating that this is ‘too important’ an issue to be dealt with via a ‘quick’ Commission consultation and that it should be considered as part of the Gambling Act Review. Other possible implications suggested included an increase in complaints, both to gambling businesses and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers. Others emphasised the importance of robust evaluation.

Equalities considerations

Respondents to the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence stated that some protected characteristics may be impacted by the proposals (positively and negatively) and would need additional consideration. Suggestions included:

Impact assessment

Gambling business respondents to the 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence requested that further assessment be carried out prior to implementation of any proposals.

Many requested the Commission give them as much notice as possible for changes to be brought in, particularly for smaller businesses who raised challenges such as hiring resources and building tools in their technical systems.

Some suggested they did not have enough information at the time to assess the impact on their businesses, but many estimated it to be significant.

Individual respondents such as members of the public reiterated their concerns here over the impact to the gambling industry, particularly horse racing, as well as the risk of people moving to the unlicensed market.

Details on our next steps is set out in:
Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks
Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments

Summary of new research, data and evidence

We have explained that there was some confusion from some respondents to our consultation and call for evidence exercises, often exacerbated by the fact that those respondents had heard about the proposals via campaigns and trade publications where the details were not fully covered or could be confusing.

For example, some consumers had received the impression that all customer accounts would undergo the checks whereas it was proposed that only a proportion of the highest-spending accounts would have checks. Others had received the impression that the checks proposed were more like a cap on gambling, regardless of the financial circumstances of the customer. The proposals however were not to act as a cap and were designed to take account of the financial circumstances of the customer. Despite concerns, the checks would not affect a customer's credit rating. In September 2023, we made available some information on our website to answer some of the common queries or areas of confusion in a Gambling Commission blog.

Consumer voice research

Alongside the Summer 2023 consultation, we commissioned consumer research to gain greater insights from gambling customers. This consumer voice work has brought in additional perspectives and allowed more in-depth exploration of the issues with a range of consumers. Alongside this response, we publish the results of the consumer research relating to financial risk which we commissioned. The research was conducted by Yonder Consulting.

The research was designed to:

Yonder designed a deliberative research approach to enable participants to reflect upon the proposed policies in an environment free from media influence where information could be explained and explored. The qualitative phase consisted of 4 focus groups and 4 in-depth interviews (a total of 28 participants) with a cross-section of online gamblers and was conducted in August 2023. The reflections from the qualitative sessions were used to inform a quantitative survey phase. Data was collected from 1,000 online gamblers in November 2023.

The findings: Overall response to the proposals

Yonder found high levels of overall support for the proposals in both the qualitative and quantitative stages, and a recognition that the proposals are necessary to protect online gamblers from harm. Despite some variation between types of gamblers, the majority across all groups still support the proposals being implemented.

Key findings include:

The findings: Financial vulnerability checks

For financial vulnerability checks, Yonder found broad support for the current proposals. 56 percent felt that the proposed threshold of £125 in 30 days is the right amount, and 52 percent felt that the £500 in 365-day proposed threshold is also the right amount.

Of those that disagreed, respondents were more likely to feel the consultation proposed thresholds are too low (30 percent for £125 in 30 days and 31 percent for £500 in 365 days), a view that was also expressed in the qualitative stage. It was felt that the proposed threshold would impact most gamblers and when presented with the full proposal and frictionless nature of the check, some felt it would be better as a blanket check across all customers.

A majority (68 percent) were favourable towards the use of publicly available data to check if a customer was financially vulnerable (11 percent were not favourable towards this). However, there is also concern over whether this type of data would miss people who are financially vulnerable but do not have these public records.

The findings: Financial risk assessments

For financial risk assessments, Yonder again found broad support for the current proposals. 51 percent felt the thresholds of £1000 in 24-hours and £2000 in 90-days are the right amounts (35 percent and 30 percent respectively felt they are too high, whilst 6 percent and 10 percent respectively felt they were too low). Whilst both thresholds were also broadly supported in the qualitative phase, gamblers struggled to relate to the 90-day time period with their typical week or calendar month view of gambling.

The proposed lower thresholds for young adults received support amongst survey respondents (74 percent agreed, 15 percent disagreed), even amongst 18 to 24 year olds. Despite mild objections in the qualitative stage regarding the reasoning behind the lower thresholds there was widespread support for higher protection.

Survey respondents were favourable towards the use of credit reference agency data (65 percent favourable, 14 percent unfavourable). This was reflected in the qualitative stage, although support is dependent on assurance that the check would have no impact on an individual’s credit record.

Updated YouGov data on discretionary income

The Gambling Commission 2020 to 2021 consultation and call for evidence on remote customer interaction included information about average discretionary income, from YouGov. This indicated the average levels of discretionary income per calendar month at different age groups. In each age group, there are individuals who have very limited discretionary income.

In this response, we provide updated information about average discretionary income from obtained from YouGov.

There remains a significant proportion of the population falling within the lowest 3 categories of discretionary income compared to the 2020 figures, but the proportions are reduced compared to the 2020 figures. The proportions of the general adult population that had an average monthly discretionary income of Nothing (8 percent in 2024 compared to 9 percent in 2020), less than £125 (21 percent in 2024 compared to 25 percent in 2020) or in the £125 to £249 range (17 percent in 2024 compared to 20 percent in 2020).

Personal monthly discretionary income by age group1

Personal monthly discretionary income by age group
Personal monthly discretionary income (February 2024) All ages (percentage) 18 to 24 years old (percentage) 25 to 34 years old (percentage) 35 to 44 years old (percentage) 45 to 54 years old (percentage) 55 years old and above (percentage)
Nothing 8% 6% 6% 9% 10% 7%
Less than £125 21% 21% 15% 21% 22% 22%
£125 to £249 17% 16% 15% 17% 17% 17%
£250 to £449 15% 14% 18% 17% 15% 14%
£500 to £749 9% 7% 13% 9% 8% 8%
£750 to £999 5% 4% 7% 4% 5% 4%
£1,000 to £1,249 4% 3% 6% 5% 4% 4%
£1,250 to £1,499 2% 2% 3% 2% 2% 1%
£1,500 to £1,749 1% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1%
£1,750 to £1,999 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1%
£2,000 and above 3% 2% 3% 3% 2% 3%
Do not know 6% 11% 5% 4% 5% 6%
Prefer not to say 10% 11% 7% 7% 8% 12%

Open banking data modelling

Open banking protocols enable individuals’ financial data to be shared between banks and third-party service providers.

In 2023 the Commission purchased a sample of open banking data from YouGov Finance. This dataset includes the details of banking transactions from 4,000 individuals in Great Britain, each of whom have given their consent for their data to be used for research. It comprises over 12 million individual transactions, of which 253,916 are non-lottery gambling transactions, by 2,034 unique gamblers. At least one year of transactions is available for each gambler, with an average of 966 days and a standard deviation of 222 days. The data spans the period up to August 2023.

Alongside this response, we publish a technical report on the data-modelling exercise.

This publication sets out the results of an analysis of open banking data. A data modelling approach was taken to consider the proportion of individuals whose rate of gambling spend exceeded certain thresholds. The report considered the overlap between the groups of individuals exceeding the different thresholds, as well as whether the thresholds are still reached when considering spend at each gambling operator separately compared to overall gambling spend.

The Open Banking modelling necessarily applied different definitions of spend that those proposed in the consultation. However, based on those definitions, we note that almost every unique individual exceeding a £500 threshold also exceeded a £125 threshold or a £150 threshold. Only 1 percent of individuals in the sample (which deliberately over-represented gamblers and was not nationally representative) would be captured by the £500 annual threshold, whilst not also exceeding the £125 (monthly) threshold or 1.6 percent at a £150 threshold.

When considering the 2 potential risk assessment thresholds for single operator net spend, we saw that similar numbers of individuals exceeded each, with 93 and 95 unique individuals for the £1,000 and £2,000 thresholds respectively. There is a large overlap in the sets of unique individuals identified by each. However, for each of these thresholds between a fifth and a quarter of individuals identified did not exceed the other threshold. This results in a notably higher number of unique individuals exceeding at least one risk assessment threshold than either threshold alone.

Details on our next steps is set out in:
Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks
Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments


1 Unweighted Numbers: All (110,203), 18 to 24 years old (5,515), 24 to 34 years old (14,949), 35 to 44 years old (19,152), 45 to 54 years old (19,211), 55 years old and above (51,376).

Base: Respondents aged 18 years old and above, living in Great Britain (data weighted by age, ethnicity, gender, education level, social grade, past vote and political attention). Source: YouGov Profiles

Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks

Frictionless, light-touch financial vulnerability checks – 2 stage implementation.

Overall decision

We confirm that we are introducing light-touch financial vulnerability checks following the consultation. These checks will identify financial vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts. The checks will be introduced at a higher threshold from end August 2024, moving to a lower threshold in February 2025.

Some respondents to the consultation (particularly people with lived experience and academics), and some of the consumer research participants felt that the checks should simply apply to all customers at registration. This was due to the significant risk of harm to customers who may be bankrupt or have equivalent signs of financial vulnerability. We also note the view of some respondents who stated that gambling at these amounts could affect quality of life, given the low amounts of discretionary income for some customers and that in their view there is a higher risk of harm connected with gambling than some other activities. However, we did not think that it was necessary to introduce the check for all customers as we sought to target checks where they would be more relevant.

We also note that a significant number of responses considered that the thresholds proposed for the checks were too low and would as a result catch too many people. However, we consider that the light-touch nature of the check, the frictionless process without interruption of the customer journey unless there are risk flags, and the ability to tailor the response post a check all support the introduction of these checks.

Frictionless nature of the light-touch checks

We note that some respondents, such as gambling consumers, had concerns that the checks would not be frictionless. However, many gambling businesses responded to confirm that the checks they already conduct are currently frictionless. Many gambling businesses use third-party providers to conduct the checks. Responses received from these organisations who provide checks also indicated that they considered the process of conducting a check to be frictionless.

We have also supported this by maintaining the proposal that was in the consultation that checks would not prevent the continued gambling or making of deposits unless there were risk flags for that customer.

In the consultation, we set out that it may not be necessary to specify the timeframe during which a gambling business would have to complete a check and explored stakeholder views. Many gambling businesses and organisations who conduct checks confirmed that the checks can be carried out promptly, often in real-time. During the consultation process, some larger operators confirmed that they often conduct such checks alongside identity verification at the point of registration. We do not consider at this time that it is necessary to specify a timeframe for the check to be completed.

Action an operator may take post light-touch checks

The proposal was for light-touch checks that would be frictionless and we continue to consider this is an important consideration of the policy. We reiterate that the Gambling Commission does not consider that all flags connected with this check should result in one type of action. There remains a perception amongst some that the Commission expects a County Court Judgment (CCJ) for a parking ticket to be treated the same as bankruptcy and an assumption that we expect operators to default to ending the consumer relationship. This is not the case: customer interaction should involve actions which are tailored to the nature and severity of all the indicators of harm for that customer. A customer may be more effectively supported by the use of deposit limits or other tools rather than an end to the customer relationship, which could result in the customer moving to another operator.

We have clarified the wording following consultation on automated and manual processing. In the final light-touch vulnerability check provision, the requirement is that remote gambling businesses must consider the circumstances in which different forms of processing are appropriate in cases where a decision is taken for action following a check, and must also consider the circumstances in which immediate action is necessary to limit harm where significant risk is identified.

This wording is designed to articulate the position more clearly on data processing. Where there are no risk flags, the customer journey continues and there are no new requirements on gambling businesses, as was set out in the consultation. However, where there are decisions for action, the operator must have and implement policies and procedures on how the data processing will occur. This amendment responds to comments by gambling businesses who considered the original drafting confusing or misleading on the nature of data protection controls.

In some cases, as for other indicators of harm set out in Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision 3.4.3, there may be circumstances where immediate action, such as pausing an account, is necessary to limit harm where significant risk is identified.

Guidance to support action following a check

The light-touch financial vulnerability check is designed to sit alongside existing requirements for customer interaction to identify customers at risk of harm and take action, set out in SR Code 3.4.3. The requirement following a light-touch check is to consider the financial vulnerability information the operator obtains, together with all the other information they know about the customer and are permitted to use, in order to assess risk, to take proportionate action when risk is identified, and record the rationale for the decision on proportionate action. This means that the operator should consider all the information they hold about the customer alongside the financial vulnerability check and tailor any action to the level of risk.

The Commission’s existing guidance for remote operators on customer interaction may assist operators in considering how to assess risk, how to take proportionate action and how to record rationale for decisions where action is taken.

Even where a light-touch check flags some level of risk, it is not assumed that the preferred action is to immediately take steps to prevent gambling or to cease the customer relationship entirely. It may be appropriate to consider steps to support the customer to gamble safely – for example through encouraging the use of deposit limits, or setting limits on behalf of the customer. In some cases, such as where a CCJ is flagged as part of a check and where there are no other indicators of harm, it may be that it is appropriate that no action is taken, subject to ongoing monitoring under customer interaction. In other cases, there may be signs of financial vulnerability as well as other indicators of harm, and moving to stronger action immediately is more appropriate. The following extracts of our customer interaction guidance for remote operators may be particularly relevant:

8.1. When a licensee is concerned that a customer may be experiencing harm, acting early and quickly is important to help stop or prevent the harm worsening. Identifying signs of harm and taking early action is a preventative measure, designed to enable a customer to gamble safely, or take action to reduce or prevent gambling where necessary.

8.3. As set out in requirement 9 [of SR Code 3.4.3], licensees must tailor the type of action they take based on the number and level of indicators of harm exhibited. Importantly, this may mean taking strong or stronger action straight away, rather than increasing action gradually. This will include giving consideration to refusing service or ending the business relationship where necessary.

Impact of the checks

We also can confirm that the checks do not affect a customer’s credit score. If the check is conducted via a third-party provider, the fact of the check may be visible to a customer when they check their own credit score. We will encourage providers to ensure that a check is accurately described when it appears in this way as we consider it could be confusing to customers to have this check described in terms that implies it uses anything other than publicly available data.

Data to be included in each check

As part of the government’s Review of the Gambling Act 2005, many operators shared examples of what they do for a light-touch financial check, and suggested that introducing such approaches consistently across operators would be suitable. Some operators shared that they already asked all customers to provide their postcode and employment status and job title at registration. This information is then used to estimate key factors, such as whether the customer lives in a deprived area and their likely salary, which may be used to inform an initial customer risk profile. In response to these suggestions, we set out proposals in our consultation that a financial vulnerability check would also combine aggregated data which may flag potential financial risk, to allow stakeholders to consider and comment.

As set out in the consultation, the use of postcode and job title may add some additional information that can support risk assessment by giving an indication of possible average salaries or the likelihood of deprivation. However, we also set out in the consultation that there were limitations and risks associated with such data, most notably that its use could give a false sense of reassurance. For example, customers who are financially vulnerable may still live in a postcode that is typically seen as wealthy and job titles and roles can also be misleading or have wide salary ranges associated. Similarly, the data could give a false sense of risk. Nevertheless, we felt it appropriate to include proposals in the consultation to allow stakeholders the opportunity to respond. Respondents generally (but not always) disagreed with the use of both postcode and job title, arguing that their use could be misleading. We note also that a small number of respondents considered that use of postcode could lead to discrimination and bias against some types of consumers from a particular postcode.

Our decision is that financial vulnerability checks will focus solely on publicly available data and, following feedback through the consultation, will not require gambling businesses to consider an individual’s personal details such as postcode or job title.

The consultation proposed that a financial vulnerability check was to include in the check publicly available data such as bankruptcies and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or equivalent. We did not specifically reference one relevant form of insolvency solution, which was nevertheless captured by the ‘or equivalent’ wording. These are Debt Relief Orders (DROs). They are another form of insolvency solution for personal debts one cannot pay, for those that owe less than £30,000 and who have less than £2,000 in savings. A respondent suggested that we clarified that DROs form part of the publicly available data. We have considered and amended the provision to explicitly state that DROs form part of the publicly available data which must be checked.

Threshold for a check

Consumer behaviours can change over time and the proportion of active gambling customers who have this light-touch check may therefore also change. Similarly, the evidence shows that average discretionary income can shift over time to a certain extent, indicating that the risk profile of customers spending at a set threshold will also vary over time. Nevertheless, in setting thresholds for the financial vulnerability check, we sought to support the principle set out in our consultation and in the government’s White Paper proposal that the checks are targeted at highest spending customers. Broadly speaking, we anticipate this to be in the region of 20 percent of active customer accounts.

We have therefore chosen a combination of threshold and net deposit definition that will continue to target these checks at the highest spending accounts. We estimate this combination would deliver checks in the region of 20 percent of active customer accounts, noting that the figure will change and fluctuate over time. We are comfortable with this fluctuation because of the light-touch nature of the check, which following consultation focuses on publicly available data.

The final decision following consultation is that financial vulnerability checks will be required to take place at £150 net deposits in a rolling 30-day period from 28 February 2025, after an initial higher threshold of £500 net deposits in a rolling 30-day period from 30 August 2024 until 27 February 2025.

The £500 introductory threshold to apply for the first 6 months has been set to allow for operators who are not already conducting such checks to have a period where they need to undertake less checks while they introduce the process into their overall customer interaction approach. This will be beneficial for consumers as it will help smooth implementation.

Following consultation, we have focused on the rolling 30-day threshold rather than also including an annual threshold as a minimum requirement. This is because we consider that the vast majority of those customers that would trigger an annual threshold would have previously triggered a 30-day threshold. This was informed by operator contributions to the Summer 2023 consultation as well as our open banking modelling which indicated that only a very small proportion of unique customers would trigger an annual threshold in isolation. We also consider that a customer with a smooth or consistent spend profile over the year is less likely to be experiencing significant or acute financial distress associated with gambling if there are no other indicators of harm.

We therefore consider that, at this time, the additional benefits of including an annual threshold, compared to the burden on the industry of including an annual threshold do not justify its inclusion as a requirement. As a result, we have decided not to include an annual threshold for the financial vulnerability check as a requirement.

We note respondents sometimes commented that the thresholds proposed were too high, and that checks should be carried out at lower levels or even for all customers. Some of the participants in the consumer research initially felt the thresholds were too low. Some of these changed their minds after further consideration and thought it would be simpler and more transparent to customers to have the check conducted for all. We have not taken this approach as a requirement as we consider it may be disproportionate as a minimum requirement that all customers are checked. We remain of the view that it is appropriate to target the requirement to conduct these checks at higher spending accounts. It is of course open to gambling businesses to use the publicly available information more frequently, at lower thresholds or even for all customers. Some operators currently take this approach. Those operators who choose to conduct the light-touch checks for all customers as part of their identity verification of the customer are free to continue to do so.

How long the data remains relevant

As proposed in the consultation, the check will not be required to be repeated within 12 months even if the customer account hits the threshold again during that time. The responses from the financial sector and the gambling industry generally confirmed that the light-touch check could be conducted very quickly and therefore it is not expected that there will be a delay in conducting the check. In line with the consultation proposal, we have not put in place a requirement for operators to prevent customer deposits or further gambling whilst a check is conducted, due to this quick response rate and the wish to support a frictionless system of checks.

There was some evidence from respondents with lived experience of gambling harms and from the financial sector that customer circumstances can change more frequently than this, for example over 3 months or 6 months because of events such as job loss, divorce, bereavement or retirement. However, this check is designed to be a light-touch check to identify customers who are particularly financially vulnerable, and these more extreme situations are less likely to lead to acute financial distress connected with the gambling over a short timeframe. The Commission’s existing guidance on customer interaction sets out examples of scenarios of how a licensee may become aware of a customer in a vulnerable situation, such as a life event like bereavement, divorce or job loss, and the actions they should take as a result.

In the proportions of customers we are discussing, we do not consider it proportionate at this time to seek for checks to be repeated on a more common timeframe. On balance therefore, we consider that (as consulted), the 12 months validity even if the threshold is met again, is a suitable timeframe for the introduction of these checks as a requirement.

Definition of net loss

We have considered the strong concerns from gambling businesses that they would not be able to implement the original definition of spend or loss within a reasonable timeframe. Operators explained that to apply the definition in the consultation, they would have to monitor the customer’s position after every micro transaction, adding significant complexity for all operators, and they argued that to be able to do so would require a significant delay in introduction of the check.

We consider it important to implement the checks quickly to ensure a minimum standard of identifying particularly financially vulnerable customers. Taking into account that this check is to be a light-touch check using only publicly available data, we have decided to use a definition of spend based on deposits minus withdrawals and over a rolling 30-day period. Deposits minus withdrawals considers the net position of transactions into and out of the account and rolling period means that at any point in time the operator needs to consider the position over the preceding 30 days.

Data processing and data protection

The consultation proposal was to allow some forms of automated processing. However, some respondents considered that the draft was not clear or did not allow forms of data processing that they considered to be appropriate – including when no action was being taken. Following consultation, we have clarified the wording on automated and manual processing. In the final light-touch vulnerability check provision, the requirement is that remote gambling businesses must consider the circumstances in which different forms of processing are appropriate in cases where a decision is taken for action following a check. They must also consider the circumstances in which immediate action is necessary to limit harm where significant risk is identified. This latter wording is similar to the existing requirement for customer interaction when there are other indicators of harm, set out in Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) SR Code 3.4.3.

This wording is designed to articulate the position more clearly on data processing. Where there are no risk flags, the customer journey continues and there are no new requirements on gambling businesses, as was set out in the consultation. However, where there are decisions for action, the operator must have and implement policies and procedures on how the data processing will occur. This amendment responds to comments by gambling businesses who considered the original drafting confusing or misleading on the nature of data protection controls.

In some cases, as for other indicators of harm set out in SR Code 3.4.3, there may be circumstances where immediate action, such as pausing an account, is necessary to limit harm where significant risk is identified.

We have not introduced any new requirements on the data protection principles or actions that must apply to the consideration of this publicly available data as we consider that existing processes for use of such data should already apply.

Equalities considerations

We are committed to giving consideration to potential equalities impacts, having regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. A small number of respondents raised the issue of potential discrimination in relation to those who live in deprived areas should the Commission adopt the consultation proposal of considering postcode as part of the risk assessment for the customer. However, following consultation, we are not proceeding with this proposal.

We set out in the consultation that we had not identified any adverse effects of the proposed light-touch financial vulnerability check on those who share a protected characteristic. Following consultation, this remains the same and we have not identified any adverse impacts.

The light-touch check is designed to identify customers who may be at risk of harm due to financial vulnerability and enable operators to take action (as part of customer interaction) to support those customers. We have therefore identified that this may have an overall positive impact on customers who share a protected characteristic, particularly where a customer may be in a vulnerable situation.

We also consider that the light-touch nature of the check using publicly available information without interrupting the customer journey where there are no risk flags, and the targeting of the check at higher spending accounts, mitigates against any risk that having to provide data directly would disproportionally affect and burden customers who share a protected characteristic.

Impact and evaluation

We will evaluate the impact of these checks and will continue to keep thresholds and other details under review. Evaluation of the measures we introduce is very important. Along with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in consideration of Gambling Act Review measures more generally, we need to establish if they are being delivered effectively, understand if they are achieving their intended outcomes and impacts, identify any unintended consequences, and capture learning to inform the implementation of future policy changes. This evaluation process is important, and planning for the evaluations is already well underway. We have set out more information about the approach to evaluation on our website.

Implementation

We consider that the changes following consultation on this type of check implement the White Paper intentions and the approach set out in our Advice to Government and which we continue to consider appropriate. This is for light-touch financial vulnerability checks to be conducted in a frictionless manner. We have also taken into account the detailed implementation issues raised during this programme of work.

To ease the introduction of these checks, they will initially come into force at a higher threshold of £500 net deposits per 30-day rolling period from 30 August 2024 until 27 February 2025, before reducing to a lower threshold of £150 net deposits per 30-day rolling period on 28 February 2025.

The £500 introductory threshold to apply for the first 6 months has been set to allow for operators who are not already conducting such checks to have a period where they need to undertake less checks while they introduce the process into their overall customer interaction approach. This will be beneficial for consumers as it will help smooth implementation.

These checks will be frictionless, and where there are risk flags, operators will be required to assess and take proportionate action. We want to enable operators to deliver this proportionate action, and the two-staged implementation will help to smooth implementation for consumers by spreading the initial number of flagged customers following the implementation of this new requirement over a period of months.

Final wording

New Social Responsibility Code - 3.4.4 - Light-touch financial vulnerability check to inform customer interaction decision making

Applies to: All remote licences, except any remote lottery licence the holder of which does not provide facilities for participation in instant win or high frequency lotteries, remote gaming machine technical, gambling software, host, ancillary remote bingo, ancillary remote casino, ancillary remote betting, remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) and remote general betting limited licences.

SR Code 3.4.4 is in force from 30 August 2024. Paragraph 7 is in force between 30 August 2024 to 27 February 2025.

  1. Licensees must undertake a financial vulnerability check for customers that meet the relevant threshold.

  2. A financial vulnerability check must include at a minimum a customer-specific public record information check for significant indicators of potential financial vulnerability. The check must include whether the customer is subject to any of the following:
    1. bankruptcy order, or equivalent, or
    2. county court judgment (CCJ); an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA); high court judgment (HCJ); administration order (AO) or decree; Debt Relief Order (DRO); or equivalent.
  3. Licensees must:
    1. consider the financial vulnerability information they obtain, together with all of the other information they know about the customer and are permitted to use, in order to assess risk,
    2. take proportionate action when risk is identified, and
    3. record the rationale for the decision on proportionate action.
  4. Licensees must have and put into effect policies and procedures on:
    1. whether, when taking decisions on proportionate action, it is appropriate for such a decision to be taken manually, in a fully automated manner (offering the customer the opportunity for manual review where decisions for action are taken), or through a combination of automated processing and subsequent manual review, and
    2. the circumstances in which immediate action is necessary to limit harm where significant risk is identified.
  5. The licensee is not required to conduct this financial vulnerability check at the point when the customer reaches a relevant threshold, if the operator has previously conducted a financial vulnerability check or a financial risk assessment within the previous 12 months.

  6. From 28 February 2025, the relevant threshold is where the customer’s deposits minus withdrawals exceeds £150 in a rolling 30-day period.

  7. Between 30 August 2024 and 27 February 2025, the relevant threshold is where the customer’s deposits minus withdrawals exceeds £500 in a rolling 30-day period.

Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments

We are working towards new, proportionate financial risk assessments because we want to prevent the serious cases we have seen where customers were able to spend large amounts in short spaces of time without any checks. We consider that the customer experience can be improved with a frictionless system based on data sharing that helps identify risk for the highest spending customers.

In the 2023 consultation, we proposed a new, frictionless assessment for the highest spending customers once they met set thresholds (defined as net loss in the consultation). The assessment was proposed to cover suitable data to identify risk - looking at risks from credit reference agency data, taking account of current account turnover. Assessments would be able to take account of previous winnings, especially when considering the action that might be proportionate following an assessment. We were particularly targeting 3 key risks:

This was not to be a cap on gambling.

But we will not roll out the assessments until we are satisfied that the data-sharing can work well. We are therefore going to run a pilot with the largest operators to test the practical issues before final decisions are made whether we would implement these assessments and the detailed issues.

Consumers will not be affected during the pilot period to make sure that that we can refine the data sharing processes before the assessments would ever be rolled out in a live environment.

The pilot will test out the different forms of data available to credit reference agencies to consider what is helpful and meaningful in the gambling context. For example, while ‘SCOR’ or credit reference data will be the core data that is used to develop solutions, Current Account Turnover (CATO) data will also be considered to understand whether that helps inform a better understanding of financial risk to the customer. CATO would only be used to supplement credit performance data to inform an aggregated assessment of financial risk in relation to that customer. This means that bank account details will not be shared with operators as a result of including CATO data in the pilot.

We have not made final decisions on the financial risk assessments. However, if the pilot progresses well, these would be frictionless checks for the vast majority of customers who undergo them. They would apply to only the highest spending remote gambling accounts and would not be a cap on gambling. They would not affect a customer’s credit score. Once an assessment has been obtained, gambling businesses would be able to consider gambling history such as if the customer is overall winning, and consider whether there are other indicators of harm such as whether the customer has been chasing losses. We have not proposed new requirements on betting at the track, or at the local high street betting shop.

Pilot

The consultation proposal was for enhanced financial risk assessments informed by credit reference data at unusually high loss levels where the risks for consumers are greater, with the assessments to be conducted in a frictionless manner.

The consultation set out that we consider that financial risk assessments would deliver consistent, frictionless processes to assess risk of harm of gambling in the context of the financial circumstances of the highest spending online accounts. Subject to the pilot, we consider that the introduction of financial risk assessments would be a proportionate response to the risks we have seen in our casework. This would improve the quality of operator consideration of risk as the assessments would draw upon the best available data to understand financial risk rather than rely on the current position of direct provision of documentation supplied by customers which may only provide partial insight and which are applied inconsistently across gambling businesses, whilst also improving the customer journey.

A pilot can help us assess the ways in which conducting assessments in a frictionless manner for the first time, for the vast majority of customers who would undergo the assessments, would in the future support a smooth customer journey and avoid seeking documentation from customers where that is not necessary. We can test how the data-sharing would work in practice.

Approach to pilot and data collection period

We understand the interest that this consultation proposal attracted throughout our work on this topic, and we therefore asked in the consultation how these assessments could be introduced in a careful manner if these proposals were adopted.

Many respondents supported the idea of a pilot to further test how the data-sharing works in practice. We agree and have decided that a pilot and data collection period is the appropriate way to proceed in order to further assess how financial risk assessments would be implemented in a live environment. Pilot results and data will inform future financial risk assessment decisions.

Therefore, the Gambling Commission continues to consider the issues raised by consultation respondents in relation to:

Our decisions on these issues will be set out in a further response once we have considered the findings from the pilot and data collection period. We will continue to consider the consultation responses we have received in order to help inform these final decisions. The response we provide here focuses on the next steps for the implementation of a pilot, and a separate data collection exercise.

The Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision which requires participation in the pilot by some operators from 30 August 2024 is set out at the end of this response.

The purpose of a pilot

The pilot will enable us to test the details of data-sharing in practice, working with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (the main credit reference agencies), and gambling businesses.

It will inform the data which could be included in or excluded from the credit reference agency models. It will help us understand how the data-sharing works in practice such as the speed of the assessment and how it is presented to gambling businesses, as well as the way in which gambling businesses can use the data.

During the pilot, gambling businesses who are required to participate in the pilot will be required to test the data-sharing arrangements. This may be initially with historical customer data, and then current customer data, progressing as directed by the Commission and reporting the outcomes to the Commission.

During the pilot, gambling businesses may not use the data for the purpose of compliance with existing requirements. However, gambling businesses will still be obliged to apply all the existing requirements to empower and protect the consumer. In particular, they will be required to consider other markers of harm to identify and take action to support customers at risk of harm. In addition, we are separately introducing light-touch financial vulnerability checks, which will enable customers at risk of financial vulnerability through for example bankruptcy to be identified. This will be introduced at a higher threshold level of £500 net deposits and remain in place at this level for the duration of the pilot. It will then move to a lower level of £150 net deposits for the light touch check from February 2025.

The purpose of the pilot approach is to understand the level and nature of information sharing between credit reference agencies, and the response from operators. The intention is not to apply thresholds for checks in the same way as though it were a live environment. Indeed, for some of the pilot period, our intention is to allow historical data and/or inactive customer data to be used.

Data to be used during a pilot period

The relevant gambling business will provide customer information to credit reference agencies, who will then produce a financial risk assessment for that customer and share it with the gambling business. Credit reference agencies can use all of the credit reference ‘bureau’ data that they have available in the models in order to provide a total score, risk rating or index rating. Customer specific data points may not be shared with gambling businesses, except those which have been approved for use - these currently are:

Even in these cases, raw account level data may not be provided to gambling businesses - this means the credit reference agency will summarise the relevant points, minimising the data to be shared with the gambling business. In addition to the ‘bureau’ data, the credit reference agencies can use Current Account Turnover (CATO) data within their models to support an overall assessment of risk, provided in a risk score, risk grade or Red, Amber, Green (RAG) status. No CATO data would be shared directly with a gambling business nor used to develop a derived income value that would be shared with a gambling business. This means that bank account details will not be shared with gambling businesses as a result of including CATO data in the pilot, and the gambling business will not know a customer’s salary.

It is important that we test any data that might be considered for the final financial risk assessments. For this reason, CATO data will be used in the pilot period so that its use and potential weighting within credit reference agency models can be considered during the pilot period.

Participants in a pilot

For the purposes of the pilot, we are requiring operators in the highest 3 relevant bands of operating licence fee categories. This would represent a significant proportion of market share. We assess that a pilot with this group of operators will provide us with sufficient information during the pilot period to inform decision-making. This also avoids placing a burden on smaller operators who may have fewer resources and who may not be easily able to participate in the pilot as effectively or quickly.

We will additionally seek volunteers from operators outside of these fee categories to participate. While we think it is important to offer the opportunity for some smaller or medium operators to contribute to the pilot, we did not consider it proportionate to require these operators to do so. If there are volunteers, we will liaise with any operators who choose to participate in the pilot to ensure that the legal obligation to conduct the pilot activity is put in place as part of the requirements of the specific licence and that the appropriate data protection controls would also apply. This would be in the form of individual licence conditions similar in nature to the general requirement set out here. We may agree different timetables or thresholds for assessments for volunteer participants during the pilot period. Any operator outside of the fee categories set out here interested in volunteering to participate in the pilot should contact the Commission on licensing@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Length of the pilot period overall and the progression through the stages

Subject to the pilot findings, the Commission will make final decisions about whether we should proceed to implementation in the live environment and the way in which this would be done, including the thresholds for action, the definitions, the data to be included in an assessment and the processing of data and decision-making, taking into account the consultation responses and our consumer research and other evidence. We will not implement financial risk assessments unless the pilot demonstrates that the process of receiving a financial risk assessment can be frictionless for the vast majority of customers who undergo the assessments, and we remain of the view that conducting the assessments would be for a small proportion of customer accounts.

The pilot period is intended to have 6 months of piloting, and some time for reporting to be completed towards the end of the pilot period. However, we have built some flexibility in the SR Code requiring participation in the pilot, allowing the ability for the Commission to extend the pilot period till the end of April 2025 should this be necessary for practical reasons. The Commission must notify pilot participants by 17 March 2025 if we wish to extend the pilot period to the end of April.

During the pilot period, the Commission will direct and support operators to progress through 3 potential stages of the pilot. This is likely to mean moving initially from testing data sharing in relation to some customer accounts that are not currently active, through to historical data relating to some active customers, to the first occasion that a customer meets a threshold within the pilot period.

We want the pilot to be a practical process for those operators who are required to participate and therefore have set out in the SR Code Provision a great deal of flexibility for the Commission to be able to amend the detailed approach taken by operators during the pilot period, taking into account practical issues raised by gambling businesses and the credit reference agencies.

This means that the Commission can if necessary adapt many of the details of the pilot period such as:

This flexible approach allows adaptation for practical challenges. It can allow learnings to be taken into account as the pilot progresses and allows activity to cease once sufficient information has been considered. This reduces the risk of more pilot financial risk assessments being conducted than is necessary to inform the pilot, and reduces the burden and cost to industry.

Thresholds during the pilot

For the purposes of the pilot, the definition of spend is deposits minus withdrawals (mirroring for now the final financial vulnerability check definition that we have applied following consultation). This definition is one that all operators can consistently use during the pilot period and would enable the pilot to progress at pace. However, the Commission could apply different definitions following the pilot period, if we proceed to implement financial risk assessments in the live environment. The thresholds and definitions of spend or loss would be informed by the separate data collection exercise that we will conduct separately alongside the pilot, as well as the consultation responses.

We intend to set threshold levels to allow for sufficient data to be obtained to provide robust insight but not to overburden operators participating in the pilot. These threshold levels are not indicative of where thresholds would be set following the pilot. We will discuss with and inform participating operators of the threshold levels they must use for the purposes of each stage of the pilot. There is some flexibility in the SR Code Provision to enable some differentiation of thresholds during the pilot should the Commission consider that necessary and appropriate.

Data protection during the pilot period

Consumer respondents expressed some concern that data might be misused by operators for commercial purposes. We have included in the requirement to participate in the pilot a specific prohibition.

The restriction on using the data applies for anything other than what is necessary to participate in the pilot and report findings. This includes a prohibition to prevent operators from using the data for commercial purposes.

Reporting to the Commission during the pilot

During the pilot, the participants must seek a financial risk assessment from a credit reference for any customer who meets the thresholds set by the Commission for the stage. These are described as ‘relevant customers’. The licensee must consider the information they receive from the credit reference agency alongside other indicators of harm and consider what action they would take in the live environment. They must report summaries of their findings in the form and manner specified by the Commission. They must also report to the Commission what these findings would mean for policies and procedures. This is designed to ensure that the Commission receives sufficient information during the pilot to inform future decision making, and that is provided in a consistent format. It also ensures that the Commission provides proformas for operators to complete so that they understand what reporting is required of them.

Data collection period

Alongside this work, a separate programme of data collection by the Commission will inform the final thresholds and definitions of loss or spend for implementation following the pilot period. This is likely to be in the format of regulatory data requests from the Commission to gambling businesses. The Commission will consider the findings of all relevant data requests and collection before making final decisions on whether to proceed to full implementation, and in particular what the thresholds and definitions might be.

Equalities considerations

We are committed to giving consideration to potential equalities impacts, having regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. We do not consider that the pilot will have any material impact on the statutory equalities objectives set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Evaluation

Along with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in consideration of Gambling Act Review measures more generally, we need to establish if they are being delivered effectively, understand if they are achieving their intended outcomes and impacts, identify any unintended consequences, and capture learning to inform the implementation of future policy changes. This evaluation process is important, and planning for the evaluations is already well underway. We have set out more information about the approach to evaluation on our website.

A pilot approach is separate to the formal evaluation of the policy which is a distinct and important longer-term process - understanding consumer perspectives and experiences is a vital part of this longer term evaluation.

LCCP Requirement to participate in a pilot period

Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.6

Applies to: All remote bingo, casino and betting licences of fee categories J1, K1 and L1.

  1. Subject to paragraph 2 below, in this provision:
    1. the pilot phase is the period from 30 August 2024 to 31 March 2025 inclusive;
    2. the pilot stages of the pilot phase are three stages which operate over such periods of the pilot phase as may be specified by the Commission from time to time;
    3. a threshold is a threshold which is specified by the Commission for the purposes of subparagraph h below from time to time;
    4. a customer’s account is an inactive account for the purposes of a pilot stage if the customer did not use that account for gambling during the period of 12 months prior to the commencement of the relevant pilot stage;
    5. a customer’s account is an active account for the purposes of a pilot stage if the customer used that account for gambling during the period of 12 months prior to the commencement of the relevant pilot stage;
    6. the stage one historical period is such period as the Commission may specify for the purposes of subparagraph h(i) below;
    7. the stage two historical period is such period as the Commission may specify for the purposes of subparagraph h(ii) below;
    8. a relevant customer is:
      1. during the first pilot stage, a customer of the licensee who has an account which is inactive, and in relation to which during the stage one historical period the deposits into that account minus the withdrawals from that account exceeded either the relevant threshold during a calendar day or the relevant threshold over a 90-day period;
      2. during the second pilot stage, a customer of the licensee who has an account which is active, and in relation to which during the stage two historical period the deposits into that account minus the withdrawals from that account exceeded either the relevant threshold during a calendar day or the relevant threshold over a 90-day period;
      3. during the third pilot stage, a customer of the licensee who has an account which is active, and in relation to which:
        • the deposits into that account minus the withdrawals from that account exceed the relevant threshold over any 24-hour period; or
        • the deposits into that account minus the withdrawals from that account exceed the relevant threshold over any 90-day period;
    9. a credit reference agency is any one of the three credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion;
    10. a financial risk assessment is an assessment provided by a credit reference agency of the financial risk in relation to a customer which takes into account information that the credit reference agency holds about the customer, including (where available) credit performance data and aggregated current account turnover data.

  2. The Commission may:
    1. extend the pilot phase so that it concludes on a date no later than 30 April 2025, any such extension to be notified to licensees no later than 17 March 2025;
    2. for the purposes of paragraph 1b above, specify that pilot stages operate over different periods in respect of different licensees and/or categories of licensees;
    3. for the purposes of paragraph 1c above, specify different thresholds for different pilot stages and/or for different cases and/or categories of case;
    4. for the purposes of paragraph 1f above, specify different stage one historical periods in respect of different licensees and/or categories of licensees;
    5. for the purposes of paragraph 1g above, specify different stage two historical periods in respect of different licensees and/or categories of licensees; and
    6. for the purposes of paragraph 1h above, specify the relevant calendar days and the relevant 90 day periods, and the Commission may specify different such days or periods in respect of different licensees or categories of licensees.

  3. During the pilot phase, a licensee must request from a credit reference agency a financial risk assessment in respect of each relevant customer. The request must be made:
    1. during the first and second pilot stages, within 10 working days of the relevant pilot stage commencing; and
    2. during the third pilot stage, within 24 hours of the time at which the customer first becomes a relevant customer.

  4. In a case in which a licensee receives a financial risk assessment pursuant to a request made under paragraph 3 above, the licensee must:
    1. consider the financial risk assessment and any other relevant information that it holds about the relevant customer and:
      1. assess whether the relevant customer is or was (as the case may be) at risk of harm associated with gambling, and
      2. determine what action, if any, the licensee would take or would have taken (as the case may be) under SR Code Provision 3.4.3 as a result of that assessment if paragraph 6 below did not apply;
    2. record the assessment and the determination referred to in subparagraph a above, and the reasons for the determination; and
    3. provide to the Commission such information in relation to the assessment and/or determination referred to in subparagraph a above, and/or information in relation to such assessments and determinations generally, at such time and in such form and manner as the Commission may specify from time to time.

  5. During the pilot phase, a licensee must:
    1. determine the policies and procedures that it would be appropriate for the licensee to adopt in relation to the provision to and receipt from credit reference agencies of data about customers (including the receipt of financial risk assessments);
    2. determine the policies and procedures that it would be appropriate for the licensee to adopt in relation to assessments of whether a customer is at risk of harm associated with gambling, and determinations of what action (if any) the licensee would take as a result of that assessment, if the licensee were required to obtain and consider a financial risk assessment for the purposes of SR Code Provision 3.4.3; and
    3. report to the Commission its conclusions under subparagraphs a and b above, and its reasons for those conclusions, at such time and in such form and manner as the Commission may specify from time to time.

  6. A licensee must use the financial risk assessment obtained pursuant to a request made under paragraph 3 above, and any information available to the licensee only because it was included in such an assessment, only during the pilot phase and only for the purposes of complying with paragraphs 4 and 5 above. A licensee must not use such a financial risk assessment or such information for any other purpose. In particular, a licensee must not use such a financial risk assessment or such information for the purpose of compliance with its obligations under SR Code Provision 3.4.3.

Annex: Questions asked in the Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk section of the 2023 consultation

These questions were asked in the remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk section of the Summer 2023 consultation on proposed changes to Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS), and arrangements for Regulatory Panels, which ran between July and October 2023.

Introductory questions

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that gambling operators be required to conduct light touch financial vulnerability checks based on public data when a certain net loss threshold is reached?

If you are a gambling consumer and are responding to this consultation as an individual, do you consider it likely that, if a financial vulnerability check were introduced, you would meet one of the thresholds for a check?

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that gambling operators be required to conduct enhanced financial risk assessments where there are very unusual patterns of loss? The purpose of such an assessment would be to act on the indicator of harm of unusual patterns of loss and assess gambling in the context of a customer's financial circumstances.

If you are a gambling consumer and are responding to this consultation as an individual, do you consider it likely that, if a financial risk assessment were introduced, you would meet one of the thresholds for an assessment?

Issue 1: Setting thresholds

To what extent do you agree with the proposed threshold of a financial vulnerability check based on public data (for example bankruptcy) if a customer has a net loss of £125 in a rolling 30-day period?

To what extent do you agree with the proposed threshold of a financial vulnerability check based on public data (for example bankruptcy) if a customer has a net loss of £500 in a rolling 365-days?

To what extent do you agree with the proposed threshold for a financial risk assessment related to binge activity of more than £1,000 in a relevant period of a rolling 24-hours?

To what extent do you agree with the proposed threshold for an enhanced financial risk assessment related to significant losses over time of more than £2,000 in a rolling 90-day period?

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that thresholds for the enhanced financial risk assessment are lower for those aged under 25 to £500 in a rolling 24-hour period and £1,000 in rolling 90-day period?

Issue 2: Defining net loss for the purposes of thresholds

To what extent do you agree with the proposed definition of net loss for financial risk assessments which is that net loss is the loss of deposited funds with a particular operator such as excluding bonus funds and restaked winnings? In particular, please flag any potential risks and technical difficulties with implementation of this proposed approach.

To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach to enable a recent overall net position to be taken into account when a threshold is met? In particular, please flag any potential risks and technical difficulties with implementation of this proposed approach.

To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach that would set a timeframe whereby recent overall net position could be taken into account for 7-days in relation the binge threshold and 90-days for the losses over time threshold?

To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach that would mean that a bet would only be counted as a loss when it is settled as a loser?

Issue 3: Data to be included in a check or assessment

To what extent do you agree that a financial vulnerability check would include publicly available data relating to an active County Court judgement (CCJ), High Court judgment (HCJ), administration order (AO) or decree, or equivalent?

To what extent do you consider that aggregated data should be included in a financial vulnerability check in relation to postcode?

To what extent do you consider that aggregated data should be included in a financial vulnerability check in relation to a customer’s stated employment status and job title, and cross-referencing to open source data about the average income for that occupation?

To what extent do you agree with the proposed requirements for data that must be included in an enhanced financial risk assessment for credit performance data and income and expenditure data, including current account turnover data?

Please give your reasons for your answer. In particular, are there any other types of information that you think it would be valuable to gather at these thresholds to understand potential financial risk?

In limited circumstances, it may be necessary to obtain information directly from the customer to understand financial risk. In these circumstances, we have proposed that the information must enable assessment of income and expenditure. Should the Commission set out further minimum requirements to ensure the data provided is meaningful but minimised? If so what should these requirements be?

Issue 4: How long data is valid

To what extent do you agree with a 12-month time-frame for the validity of the financial vulnerability check?

To what extent do you agree with a 6-month time-frame for the validity of the financial risk assessment?

Issue 5: Actions pending or following a check or assessment

To what extent do you agree that it is proportionate that deposits and gambling may continue while a financial vulnerability check is taking place?

To what extent do you agree that it is proportionate that gambling may continue while a financial risk assessment is taking place, but that further deposits would be paused?

We have not proposed any set requirements for how quickly a financial vulnerability check must be completed. Do you have any comments on whether such requirements would be necessary?

Issue 6: Data protection considerations

Please provide any views you may have on the best way for gambling operators to inform customers about the potential collection of their financial data for these purposes.

What feedback do you have on the requirement on operators for manual review of the assessment data, together with all of the other information they hold on the customer to make a proportionate decision on any action to be taken?

Does paragraph 7 of the proposed requirement 3.4.5 (enhanced financial risk assessment) which confirms that operators can only use the information collected for the purpose of the assessment, provide sufficient clarity that the information must not be used for any other purpose?

Issue 7: Considerations associated with implementation

What factors should be considered in relation to implementation timeline and piloting?

Do you consider that there should be any specific appropriate record keeping requirements?

Equalities considerations

Do you have any evidence or information which might assist the Commission in considering any equalities impacts, within the meaning of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, in the context of the proposals set out in this section of the consultation relating to light touch financial vulnerability checks and enhanced financial risk assessments?

Impact assessment

If you have relevant information, please provide an estimate of the direct costs associated with implementing the light touch financial vulnerability check.

If you have relevant information, please provide an estimate of the direct costs associated with implementing the enhanced financial risk assessment.

Do you have any comments on the assumptions underpinning the impact assessment set out in Annex A of the white paper?

Topic 5 - Personal Management Licence: Consultation Response

Summary - Changes to Personal Management Licence

Gambling licensees must ensure that an employee holds a Personal Management Licence (PML) if responsible for one of the ‘specified management offices’ under licence condition 1.2.1 of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). We consulted on changes to this licence condition which would both clarify and extend the roles captured.

PMLs are required to be held by anyone with responsibilities for:

The provision does not apply to a licensee as long as the licensee is a ‘small-scale operator’ as defined in the Gambling Act 2005 (Definition of small-scale operator) Regulations 2006 (‘the Regulations’) (opens in new tab).

The provision applies to all casino, bingo, general and pool betting, betting intermediary, gaming machine general, gaming machine technical, gambling software and lottery managers licences, except ancillary remote licences (unless exempt as a small-scale operator under the Regulations).

As part of the Gambling Commission’s Summer 2023 consultations, we proposed a change to licence condition 1.2.1 to clarify and increase PML coverage. Specifically, we:

This consultation closed on the 18 October 2023. Following the consultation, the Commission has taken the decision to amend licence condition 1.2.1 on PMLs as consulted, although further clarity on the position of chair has been provided following consideration of the responses.

We have published the revised LCCP provision as part of this response and our website will be updated over the coming weeks. The provisions (in full) will come into force on 29 November 2024.

Introduction - Changes to Personal Management Licence

On 26 July 2023 we issued our summer consultation which included proposals to change licence condition 1.2.1 to increase Personal Management Licence (PML) coverage and re-iterate existing requirements. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 104 written responses to this proposal from the categories of respondents detailed as follows:

Summary of responses and our position - Changes to Personal Management Licence

Proposal 1: Clarification to the requirement for a CEO, Managing Director or equivalent to hold a Personal Management Licence

Proposals

We consulted on the proposal that the overall management and direction of the licensee’s business or affairs is likely to include the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director or equivalent under Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) condition 1.2.1 (2)(a).

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposed clarification to the requirement for a CEO, Managing Director or equivalent to hold a Personal Management Licence (PML)?

Respondents’ views

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal. These respondents remarked that those who have overall responsibility, make strategic decisions, and have full oversight of the business, should be required to hold a PML. Some respondents acknowledged that the Gambling Commission currently has the powers to intervene and act under S80 (1) (Requirement for personal licence) of the Gambling Act 2005, although they still welcomed the clarification.

There were a small number of respondents who disagreed with the proposals, perceiving the current personal licensing regime to be adequate and well-functioning. Those respondents remarked that the existing regulation is already wide in scope and establishes a resilient licensing regime with extensive accountability of the personal licence holders under the Gambling Act 2005. Specifically, respondents referred to the definition of ‘management office’ under Section 80(5) stating it already allows for sufficient flexibility and provides an opportunity for the Commission to designate PMLs within any given licensee as it considers appropriate.

Some respondents operating in the charity and society lottery sectors mistakenly understood the provision would apply to their sectors. The intention is for this provision to apply to holders of an External Lottery Manager licence and not to Society Lotteries, as they are covered separately by licence condition 1.2.3 of the LCCP.

Our position

We have decided to implement the condition as consulted. It provides greater clarity on which roles in an organisational structure are likely to be captured when considering who is responsible for the overall management and direction of the licensee’s business or affairs.

However, certainty for the regulated sector is important (as highlighted by the Regulators’ Code), and that the Commission’s expectations should be clear at the outset and are not subject to misinterpretation.

Final wording

Applies to: All casino, bingo, general and pool betting, betting intermediary, gaming machine general, gaming machine technical, gambling software and lottery managers licences, except ancillary remote licences.

1.2.1 (2). The specified management offices are those offices (whether or not held by a director in the case of a licensee which is a company, a partner in the case of a licensee which is a partnership or an officer of the association in the case of a licensee which is an unincorporated association) the occupier of which is by virtue of the terms of their appointment responsible for:

a. the overall management and direction of the licensee’s business or affairs (this is likely to be the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director or equivalent)

Proposal 2: For organisations with a Board, the person responsible for chairing the Board should hold a Personal Management Licence?

Proposals

We consulted on the proposal that the person with responsibility for chairing the Board of an organisation (where the licensee has such a body) should be required to hold a Personal Management Licence (PML), to ensure that those responsible for scrutiny, strategy and leadership at the most senior level within the organisation hold a personal licence under licence condition 1.2.1 (2)(b).

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that for organisations with a Board, the person responsible for chairing the Board should hold a PML?

Respondents’ views

We received mixed responses to this question. Supportive respondents welcomed the proposal stating it was hugely important to regulate all individuals in top leadership positions, to ensure that key decision makers have a personal stake in upholding responsible gambling practices and compliance with relevant regulations. However, other respondents noted that the position of Chair is typically advisory and non-operational. A small number of respondents, whilst accepting the Board is responsible for the overall strategy, expressed concerns that:

Some respondents operating in the charity and society lottery sectors incorrectly understood the provision would apply to their sectors. The condition will apply to holders of an External Lottery Manager licence and is not applicable to Society Lotteries.

Our position

We have considered the concerns raised by stakeholders and have concluded that:

We do not consider it is unlawful or contrary to the Code to impose such a requirement. Although there is a division between the role of a non-executive board member and the executive, that does not mean that the former has no responsibility for compliant gambling. Notably, a non-executive is still responsible for overseeing the gambling operation and holding management to account, and whilst we recognise that our primary focus in most cases will be centred around the actions of those directly responsible for compliance, we nevertheless consider that in certain cases it would be reasonable to investigate whether proper oversight had been provided.

We know that some of our licensees are subject to company law internationally and acknowledge there may not always be a non-executive chair appointed in an organisational structure. Consequently, we do not make this distinction between an executive and non-executive chair in proposing the requirements. Rather, we want to ensure that anyone who is appointed as a chair on a fixed or indeterminate term of office (and not on a transient and/or short-term basis for individual meetings), is caught by the condition.

It would be helpful to clarify the Gambling Commission’s intent in proposing the requirement, notably that the intention was not to capture infrequent, rotating and temporary Chairs. For example, we do not think it would be proportionate to apply the requirement to a director who is appointed as chair for an individual meeting or on an ad-hoc basis only.

We have decided to implement the provision as consulted but to remove any ambiguity. We therefore have made it clear that the provision applies to a Chair who is appointed for a fixed or indeterminate term of office and not on a transient and/or short-term basis for individual meetings.

Final wording

Applies to: All casino, bingo, general and pool betting, betting intermediary, gaming machine general, gaming machine technical, gambling software and lottery managers licences, except ancillary remote licences.

1.2.1 (2). The specified management offices are those offices (whether or not held by a director in the case of a licensee which is a company, a partner in the case of a licensee which is a partnership or an officer of the association in the case of a licensee which is an unincorporated association) the occupier of which is by virtue of the terms of their appointment responsible for:

b. chairing the Board (where the licensee has such a body) where that appointment is held for a fixed or indeterminate term of office, unless:

  1. the position is held only on a transient and short-term basis for individual meetings; and
  2. the licensee retains evidence in support of point 1.

Proposal 3: Capturing those responsible for AML and counter terrorist financing as persons who must hold a Personal Management Licence

Proposals

We consulted on explicitly capturing those individuals responsible for anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, extending the Personal Management Licence (PML) requirements to the:

We consider these should be captured under the definition of ‘management office’, because the person is taking or sharing responsibility for ‘facilitating or ensuring compliance with terms or conditions of the operating licence’ under section 80(5) of the Gambling Act 2005. However, we want to make this requirement clear.

Consultation question

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that the person responsible for the licensee’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing function as head of that function should hold a PML?

Respondents’ views

A strong majority of respondents agreed with this proposition. Many stated that it is important that the ultimate responsible persons in key business areas such as anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing are held to account for their actions. Indeed, some licensees have affirmed that the persons in those positions do currently hold relevant PMLs.

A very small number of respondents were less supportive, stating that relevant legislation and regulations already provide for personal responsibility, accountability, and liability. One respondent pointed out that someone who is responsible for a licensee’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing function as head of that function, may face double jeopardy as a result of a requirement to hold a PML.

Our position

We have decided to implement the provision as consulted, which we consider provides clarity and codifies the requirement into the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). This acknowledges that the requirement is already captured under the definition of ‘management office’, because the person is taking or sharing responsibility for ‘facilitating or ensuring compliance with terms or conditions of the operating licence’ under section 80(5) of the Gambling Act 2005.

The clarity also aligns with the current requirements set out in our guidance 'The prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism for remote and non-remote casinos: Fifth edition (Revision 3)’, specifically, on the ‘standing of the nominated officer’, where we stipulate ‘a nominated officer should hold a PML issued by the Gambling Commission’. This will now become a mandatory requirement and the guidance referred to above will be updated to reflect the proposal we consulted on. It will however now extend to additional sectors who are obliged to comply with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Final wording

Applies to: All casino, bingo, general and pool betting, betting intermediary, gaming machine general, gaming machine technical, gambling software and lottery managers licences, except ancillary remote licences.

1.2.1 (2). The specified management offices are those offices (whether or not held by a director in the case of a licensee which is a company, a partner in the case of a licensee which is a partnership or an officer of the association in the case of a licensee which is an unincorporated association) the occupier of which is by virtue of the terms of their appointment responsible for:

i. the licensee’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing function as head of that function his is likely to include the following:

a. for holders of casino licences, the person responsible for compliance with the relevant regulations (and appointed in accordance with those regulations); and the person responsible for submission of reports of known or suspected money laundering or terrorist financing activity under the relevant legislation (and appointed in accordance with the relevant regulations)

b. for holders of licences other than casino licences, where an individual has been appointed to submit reports of known or suspected money laundering or terrorist financing activity under the relevant legislation, that individual.

Business impact

In assessing the business impact, a PML application currently costs £330. Licence fees are set by the Secretary of State in secondary legislation and have typically been reviewed every 4 to 5 years. Respondents, in the most part, did not provide any comments on the business impact. Where responses were received, respondents showed no notable concern over additional costs and accepted that this would be part of the general operational costs incurred in holding a licence.

Data Protection

There is no change to the existing process for collecting, processing and saving the information which is required in order for individuals to apply for a PML. The impact of this change will be an increase in the number of applications we receive and the resultant personal information that we will store, in line with current Commission practices.

Equalities impact

We have conducted an equalities impact assessment to ensure the proposals we are implementing do not negatively impact on applicants with protected characteristics. We are confident that there is no negative impact and will be using existing practices when assessing the fit and proper status of applicants and granting any licences.

Application handling

For Managing Directors, CEOs or the equivalent

The Personal Management Licence (PML) provision consulted on is an existing requirement and the Gambling Commission is clarifying what roles the condition captures. For example, we consider that a licensee’s Managing Director, CEO or equivalent is already captured and required to hold a PML due to the ‘specified management offices’ in Licence Condition 1.2.1 (2)(a). Following consultation, we have made this requirement more explicit. As such, the Commission will be accepting PML applications for these roles with immediate effect.

Individuals responsible for anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing roles

This may include a member of the board of directors (or if there is no board, its equivalent management body) or to a senior manager undertaking this position. We consider these should already be captured under the definition of ‘management office’, because the person is taking or sharing responsibility for ‘facilitating or ensuring compliance with terms or conditions of the operating licence’ under section 80(5) of the Gambling Act 2005.

In consulting on this proposal, we also made it clear that the requirements will include money laundering reporting officers (MLRO) and nominated officers (NO) as ones where the individual must hold a PML.

In recognising that we are enhancing the requirements for MLROs, and NOs as detailed in ‘The prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism for remote and non-remote casinos: Fifth edition (Revision 3)’ and extending to all other relevant sectors, we will commence accepting applications for these roles from 1 June 2024 onwards. This will allow for upgrades to the Commission’s systems for the processing of these applications and allow licensees sufficient time to identify the appropriate individuals who must apply for a licence.

The person with responsibility for chairing the Board of an organisation (where the licensee has such a body) and the person is appointed for a fixed term of office or indeterminate term of office

We consider this role should already be captured under the definition of ‘management office’. Nonetheless, we have consulted to make it clear that a person responsible for chairing the Board of an organisation (where the licensee has such a body) who has been appointed for a fixed or indeterminate term of office (not on a transient and/or short-term basis for individual meetings), will be required to hold a PML.

In implementing this specific requirement, we are allowing a longer period for operators to identify these relevant individuals and will therefore be accepting applications from 1 August 2024.

Topic 6 - Changes to Regulatory Panels: Consultation Response

Summary - Changes to Regulatory Panels consultation

In July 2023 we consulted on changes to Regulatory Panels (Panels) Summer 2023 consultation on proposed changes to Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS), and arrangements for Regulatory Panels (opens in new tab), where we proposed the following two changes:

The aims of the proposed changes were to:

Some of the proposals in the 2023 consultation were informed by a previous consultation relating to Panel reform in 2020, which sought views on the employment of legally-qualified adjudicators to be part of Panel decision-making. Whilst the recommendations were agreed by the Commission following that consultation, they have not been adopted in practice, and these new proposals incorporated feedback about maximising the independence of Adjudicators.

After consideration of the latest consultation responses, we have concluded that we will not be implementing the consultation proposals. We remain committed to maintaining robust, cost-effective, and timely regulatory decision-making processes, and we will consult again if we have alternative proposals. We are grateful for the time and insight from those who responded to the consultation and helped develop our thinking.

Introduction - Changes to Regulatory Panels consultation

On 26 July 2023 we issued our consultation on changes to Panels. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 140 written responses to the consultation from the following categories of respondents:

A large number of the responses to the consultation on changes to Panels did not answer the questions asked. They raised concerns about other topics or were generally unfavourable about the Gambling Commission.

Summary of responses and our position - Changes to Regulatory Panels consultation

Proposal 1: Quorum and composition of Regulatory Panels, and the Adjudicator role

Proposals

We proposed to change the current quorum (currently two Commissioners) and composition to a legally-qualified Adjudicator chairing a Panel comprising of another senior member of Gambling Commission (Commission) staff and a Commissioner.

Adjudicators would also sit alone to decide on the personal licensing matters that are delegated to Director’s Hearings and any Case Management Hearings of the Panel.

This proposal entailed employing between two and four Adjudicators, who are legally-qualified persons employed solely for the purposes of chairing Panels and Directors Hearings. In light of the legal qualifications of the Adjudicators, there would be no requirement to have an independent legal adviser to the Panel. By legally-qualified we mean a Solicitor, Practising Barrister, Chartered Legal Executive or CILEx practitioner with an entitlement to practise and a minimum of five years post qualification experience.

In relation to the proposal to include senior Commission staff as members of the Panel, we define a senior member of staff as a member of Commission staff at Grade 12 or higher (equivalent to Civil Service G7). We propose to exclude staff from the Operations Directorate and Legal team. We also propose to exclude on a case by case basis anyone who has had previous involvement in a particular case before the Panel.

Consultation questions

To what extent do you agree with the proposed change to the quorum and composition of Regulatory Panels?
To what extent do you agree with the proposal that an Adjudicator should decide on personal licence matters, replacing a Director’s hearing?
Does the draft Adjudicator Governance Framework address concerns about impartiality?

Respondents’ views

The main theme from respondents to these questions were concerns on the impartiality and/or bias of an Adjudicator as they will be an employee of the Commission. Respondents commented that an Adjudicator should be independent and have support from an independent team. Comments also included concerns around the knowledge and level of experience an Adjudicator may have in regard to the gambling industry.

Although comments recognised that the updates to the Adjudicator Governance Framework aimed to address concerns around impartiality, respondents felt it did not go far enough. Respondents were of the opinion that it has not addressed section 1 of the Regulatory Decisions: Procedures and guidance for regulatory hearings guidance and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (opens in new tab).

Points were also made on the induction process for Adjudicators and how performance appraisals would be managed.

Many respondents supported the proposal in principle but felt that the independence of the Adjudicator was the biggest issue of the proposal. Responses also asked for reconsideration of the Panel composition to exclude Commission staff members due to bias and to introduce a lay person on to the panel.

Where respondents agreed with the questions asked, either strongly agreed, agreed, or agreed in part, they thought that the changes seemed proportionate and would provide Panels with balance and expertise. Respondents also felt that matters being heard by a Panel (including an Adjudicator) or Adjudicator alone would help hearings to be conducted quickly, fairly and independently.

Our position

After consideration of the consultation responses, we have concluded that we will not be implementing this proposal at this time. We remain committed to maintaining robust, cost-effective, and timely regulatory decision-making processes. Having considered the feedback we understand concerns about the role and status of an Adjudicator and want to re-examine options for our decision-making framework. We continue to keep our processes under review and may consult again at a future date.

Proposal 2: Presumption that decisions will be made on the papers alone, and the test for convening a hearing

Proposals

We proposed to offer a paper-based process as the default option for a Panel, whereby the Panel would make a decision on the basis of written submissions and without an oral hearing.

We also proposed to make this paper-based approach the default for personal licence decisions, and would therefore change the name of a 'Director’s hearing' to an 'Adjudicator's decision'.

The Gambling Commission or the licensee could request an in-person hearing, and this request would be considered by the Panel. The Panel itself may also decide that a hearing is required.

We proposed that in making their decision on whether a hearing should be granted, the Panel would apply a fairness test. For example, a hearing would likely be convened where there were material and significant disputes of fact, or where an applicant or licensee is unable to effectively communicate their case in writing. This test would be included in the decision-making guidance.

In personal licence cases, the Commission or the licensee and/or applicant could request an in-person hearing, and this request would be considered by the Adjudicator. The Adjudicator could also decide a hearing was required. The test would be the same as for Panel cases.

Whilst the number of cases being heard at Panels has remained low, they are time consuming and expensive, with the Commission and licensees or applicants often instructing legal advisors. This has driven a formalised process and lengthy bundles of papers, which can be difficult for smaller licensees and applicants to navigate. Applicants for personal licences and smaller licensees often prepare for and attend Panel hearings without legal representation and the Commission is mindful of the need to ensure that processes to escalate licensing and regulatory decisions are accessible and easy to navigate for all our licensees and licence applicants.

This proposal has been put forward for two main reasons:

Consultation questions

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that Regulatory Panels will take decisions on the papers unless the Panel considers that a hearing is required?
To what extent do you agree with the proposal that personal licence matters will be decided on the papers unless the Adjudicator considers that a hearing is required?
Which decision-making processes from other regulators should the Commission consider in developing our approach?

Respondents’ views

Respondents again raised concerns on impartiality and bias of the Adjudicator and the lack of experience the Adjudicator may have around the gambling industry to make decisions.

The majority of respondents did not agree with a paper-based process as the default. Respondents advised that a licensee or business should be the decision-maker for whether a case is heard on papers only or in person (this includes virtual hearings).

Respondents concluded that the magnitude of outcomes (including revocation of licences) meant that cases should be heard orally and not on papers alone. Respondents also felt that an oral hearing would allow a business or licensee to fully outline their case and address, at the point of any query, any concerns or questions a Panel or Adjudicator may have. Respondents also raised concerns about the level of scrutiny of cases if a paper-based approach was adopted.

Respondents thought that a paper-based hearing would simplify the process but also raised concerns about transparency.

Positive responses agreed that a paper-based process would expedite decision-making. They also commented that this would be a simpler process to follow.

Our position

After consideration of the consultation responses, we have concluded that we will not be implementing this proposal at this time. We remain committed to maintaining robust, cost-effective, and timely regulatory decision-making processes. We note that a papers-only option already exists within our framework and we can achieve similar outcomes by ensuring this option is drawn to the attention of those requesting an escalation to the Panel.

Evaluating the impact of relevant changes

Our summer and subsequent November and December consultations highlighted that the Gambling Commission works to assess our overall progress towards the strategic objectives set out in our corporate strategy. This includes our work on Impact Metrics.

The proposals in the Summer 2023 consultations related to the first 3 of our strategic objectives. Those are protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling, a fairer market and more informed consumers and keeping crime out of gambling. The proposals also included controls designed to support the following outcomes:

The consultations noted that we would consider views on the evidence that would help inform evaluation, as well as evidence presented throughout the consultation process.

A small number of consultation responses addressed the theme of evaluation. Points raised included the Commission’s approach to these policy proposals. For example, not introducing a change until the related previous policy has been evaluated and to adopt systematic evaluation of Commission led changes. The need for clarity and some recommendations on the design and delivery of these planned evaluations was also raised. This included support for running and evaluating the results of a pilot of our proposals on financial risk. Support was also expressed for the design of our Social Responsibility Code provisions requiring licensees to conduct evaluation in relation to the effectiveness of specific Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requirements, for example, Code of Practice provision 3.4.3 - Remote customer interaction.

The Commission welcomes and shares the aspiration for greater policy evaluation. Having taken account of the existing regulatory framework, the White Paper – High Stakes: gambling reform for the digital age (opens in a new tab) sets the medium-term policy agenda for the gambling market in Great Britain and sets out a number of projects which the Commission has committed to deliver. Accordingly, our primary focus for policy development and evaluation is consultation proposals which take forward those commitments.

The consultations indicated we will develop a proportionate approach to evaluation. For example, this appreciates the significant complexities and challenges involved in the evaluation of the overall impact of all aspects of the Gambling Act Review (GAR), particularly the difficulty of attributing any observed changes to particular policies.

In respect of GAR deliverables, we highlighted in our consultation in November 2023 that to help us deliver an important overview evaluation, we intended to commission a partner to help us to design the evaluation framework which will best enable us to achieve this aim. Given that the framework is expected to include activities that are being led by both the Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), we have jointly procured that partner. They will introduce independence, which is a recommendation of good practice in evaluation, and additional expertise to enhance the quality of those evaluation activities. Further details were shared in our blog, 'Evaluating the impact of the Gambling Act Review'.

We anticipate developing an initial evaluation plan which covers the following:

  1. Overarching GAR evaluation, including consideration of:
    1. To what extent has the total package of measures been effective in preventing gambling-related harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities whilst enabling a balance of consumer freedoms, fairness and informed choice?
    2. What has the overall impact of the GAR been on gambling behaviours and the gambling market?
    3. Attribution of individual DCMS and/or the Commission led measures towards shared impact.
  2. Evaluation of organisation specific measures, including consideration of:
    1. Have DCMS led measures achieved their intended outcomes and impacts?
    2. Have the Commission led measures achieved their intended outcomes and impacts?

Once developed, we will roll out this plan, appreciating it may take some time for all the impacts to be fully realised. Likely key areas of focus in relation to Commission-led measures are those that can be expected to deliver the greatest impact on gambling consumers and the gambling market. We will also be keen to capture insights and opportunities through formative, process evaluation activities so that relevant learning can be applied to the design and implementation of subsequent policies.

We expect the developed plan to set out steps that will enable us to understand the overall impact of the package of measures through the development of relevant metrics. These metrics will draw on available information, such as population-level participation and prevalence statistics, compliance information and regulatory data, plus additional information that will have to be collected for evaluation purposes. One of the bespoke data collection methods is likely to focus on the views and experiences of gambling consumers, with the ‘consumer voice’ being a key source for assessing the impact of policies on consumer behaviour and developing our understanding of which policies have led to any observed behaviour changes.