A consultation has been initiated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to review the rules and procedures in place for licenced gambling operators when interacting with high-value customers (HVC) and VIP players.
In launching the study, the Commission said it recognised the exceptional commercial interest that VIP customers have for licensees, and high-value customers of the ‘preferential service’ receive from operators such as unique incentives, gifts and hospitality.
Nonetheless, in its statement, the UKGC noted that there are two regulatory barriers to the incentivisation of VIP teams.
First, it noted that VIP customers are highly engaged gamblers in terms of frequency, spending, and how they participate in gambling, with some showing higher ‘at-risk’ features to monitor the commission.
Second, as operators try to balance their regulatory compliance responsibilities with short-term commercial objectives, the regulator highlighted the conflicts caused by the ‘disproportionate financial value of HVCs to licensees.’
“We are concerned that these regulatory challenges have not been consistently met by licensees. This has resulted in repeated instances of gambling-related harm and in some cases, failure to prevent criminal proceeds being spent on gambling,” explained the UKGC.
The consultation will be part of the UKGC ‘s April 2020 assessment of new industry safeguards and standards sanctioned by ‘working groups’ of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
BGC members have agreed in their new ‘industry action plan’ to revise operator rules and protocols on VIP commitments by restricting VIP programmes to customers aged 25 and enforcing rules that mean that all VIP programmes are independently audited on incentives and rewards.
The UKGC concluded its statement by disclosing that customer feedback received on the issue indicated that ‘regulatory requirements that cover all customers are not being tailored and applied effectively to HVCs’.