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Last Chance Saloon for VIP Suites
Dale Shelabarger
Dale Shelabarger

Last Chance Saloon for VIP Suites

The Gambling Commission has set out fresh rules for gambling operators as part of its crusade to regulate VIP schemes. The measures, which were announced on Wednesday, will require companies to perform affordability and responsible gambling checks. Failure to comply could result in a widespread ban of all loyalty schemes.

Under the new controls, operators will be required to perform a source of funds check in order to determine whether or not their customers’ spending is “affordable and sustainable”. Before being considered for VIP membership, past gambling activities will be evaluated for evidence of addictive behaviour.

PML

These checks, as well as gambling-related harm assessments, are to be carried out regularly once a player has been accepted as a VIP member. Operators must also assign a senior executive with a personal management licence (PML) to supervise their VIP schemes.

Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, pronounced:

“We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer. Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.”

The Gambling Commission unveiled measures in 2019 to tackle VIP-related skulduggery, resulting in a significant reduction in player sign-ups. Nonetheless, further improvements are now sought by the commission after it encountered “repeated instances of failure to protect high value customers”.

Said McArthur:

“We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70% since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year. Whilst that is a sign of the positive impact our innovative approach to collaborative working can have, these new rules are designed to ensure progress continues to be made to protect vulnerable customers.”

Noble Endeavour

Heralding the incredible work undertaken by the UKGC (in conjunction with gambling giant GVC Holdings), McArthur declared:

“These new rules are part of the Commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”

McArthur also issued a stark warning to companies who fail to comply.

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes”

Summary of New VIP Regulations

  • VIP Schemes Restricted for Under-25s
  • Applicants Must Undergo Rigorous, Ongoing Checks
  • Operators Must Maintain a Full Audit Trail
  • VIP Reward Programmes Must Be Supervised by Senior Managers
  • VIP Programme Must Be Conducted Transparently

The new regulations will come into force from October 31.


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