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October 2019: Industry Challenges

Phase one of the Gambling Commission’s Industry Challenge initiative, set at our industry briefing in October 2019.

  1. Contents
  2. Background


This paper reports on phase one of the Gambling Commission’s Industry Challenge initiative, set at our industry briefing in October 2019. It details our assessment of the different rates of progress by industry. It also provides an outline of our plans for phase two, where the Commission will look to incorporate the positive steps made by industry into the regulatory framework, so that good practice standards are applied to all operators. We will be consulting on where we think industry needs to go further or faster to keep consumers safer.

The challenges we set in October 2019 were on:

  • incentives for high value customers, often referred to as VIPs
  • game and Product design
  • the use of Ad-Tech to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults online.

These areas were chosen with reference to advice given on tackling online harms from both the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and the Commission’s Digital Advisory Panel. Read the independent advice from our expert advisory groups to reduce online gambling harm.

We set industry a deadline of 31 March 2020 to set out its proposals – this was a challenging timeline but an important part of testing an approach, which we thought could bring real change for consumers, faster than traditional policy development approaches.

The Commission facilitated the formation of industry working groups to address the challenges, supported them with input on our regulatory perspective, but also monitored them closely to ensure timely delivery. We held a workshop with Experts by Experience, those who have experienced harms as a result of their or someone else’s gambling, to gain some initial input to emerging ideas. This included 28 attendees across four separate sessions.

To further add to this perspective, the charity and service provider GamCare ran a survey with 75 of its service users via its online forum, as well as providing views from staff.

We see this engagement as crucial to the effectiveness of the changes we are seeking to bring about and have introduced some changes to our structures to deliver expert by experience input more effectively.

The output from the industry working groups was taken by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) (opens in new tab) to its membership and the BGC is now responsible for delivery of the commitments made by its members.

Our intention was to update on progress and discuss next steps to implement the necessary action at our Raising Standards conference. Unfortunately, that event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

To maintain progress on benefits for consumers we made an announcement on 1 April 2020 of our initial appraisal of operator progress. As a result, some outcomes, particularly in relation to ad-tech use, are already being developed or put in place by operators, ahead of becoming part of the formal regulatory framework.

This update clarifies our approach to date and how we aim to take this work forward. We want to reiterate that this is the first step in the process and by no means the end of the conversation on any of these challenges. As a result of this initial work, we will now conduct a formal consultation to provide further opportunity for the widest input

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Foreword - October 2019: Industry Challenges
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Phase one: Update on industry progress - October 2019: Industry Challenges
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