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Compliance Updates

UK Gambling Commission sets new rules on action for at risk customers

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UK Gambling Commission sets new rules on action for at risk customers
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NEW rules ensuring online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect consumers at risk of harm have been introduced by the Gambling Commission.

The new rules, which come into effect on 12 September 2022, are stronger and more prescriptive, requiring operators to:

  • monitor a specific range of indicators1, as a minimum, to identify gambling harm
  • flag indicators of harm and take action in a timely manner
  • implement automated processes for strong indicators of harm
  • prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonuses for at risk customers
  • evaluate their interactions and ensure they interact with consumers at least at the level of problem gambling for the relevant activity
  • evidence their customer interaction evaluation to the Gambling Commission during routine casework
  • comply with these requirements at all times, this includes ensuring the compliance of third-party providers.

New guidance, which operators are required to take account of, will be issued in June to help them understand and comply with the requirements. We will engage with operators to enable the guidance to take account of queries we receive about the requirements following publication.

Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Andrew Rhodes, said: “Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm. These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit.

“We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so.”

The strengthened requirements follow a consultation which was launched to address failings the Commission continued to see among online gambling operators. Although capable of identifying customers who may be harmed by gambling, operators were not always doing so or acting quickly enough. The Commission received approximately 13,000 responses to the consultation and call for evidence. All responses to the proposals were carefully considered to ensure proportionate, robust changes were made.

In the next phase of our programme of work to make online gambling fairer and safer, the Commission will proceed as planned and consult further on identifying customers who are financially vulnerable and tackling significant unaffordable gambling. Further updates will be provided when the consultation launches.

We will continue to work closely with DCMS and take account of the Government’s Gambling Act Review. Our broader programmes of work, focused on identifying customers at risk of harm will also continue, including close engagement with the BGC and ICO on the ‘single customer view’ pilot.

 

Central Europe

ComeOn Gaming Secures GlüNeuRStv Sportsbook Licence

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The registry of the Ministry of Sports and the Interior of Saxony Anhalt has confirmed that it has granted a German Fourth Interstate Treaty (GlüNeuRStv) licence to ComeOn Gaming.

Cherry AB’s B2C unit has registered the brands sunmaker.de, comeonwetten.de and mobilebet.de under its approved German licence.

Though having secured its GlüNeuRStv licence, ComeOn has yet to disclose whether it will launch a sportsbook property, accepting the terms of Germany’s conflicted sportsbook marketplace.

At present, Saxony Anhalt has chosen to serve as the GlüNeuRStv regime’s interim regulator, as the state’s executive proceeds to establish Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) – German gambling’s new federal regulatory authority by the end of 2022.

ComeOn joins 35 foreign and domestic operators that have been granted GlüNeuRStv sports betting licences.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC Unveils New Guidance to Help Combat Problem Gambling

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) updated its new list of rules on high-risk gamblers. The new consumer protection guidance, which gambling businesses are required to take account of, will help them comply with new rules coming into effect in September.

In April the Commission announced new rules to ensure online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect customers at risk of harm. The updated consumer protection guidance will help gambling businesses understand and comply with the new rules, which come into effect on 12 September.

The existing guidance and additional guidance issued during the COVID-19 pandemic will still apply and be available for operators to refer to until 12 September.

The new guidance provides further information for remote gambling businesses on:

  • identifying vulnerable customers
  • indicators of harm they must monitor for, including what is considered a “strong” indicator of harm
  • when to use automated systems and processes
  • how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions.

UKGC Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes said: “Operators must take account of this guidance ahead of the stronger requirements coming into effect. We are giving the industry time to prepare for the changes and expect full compliance by September. Every gambling business has a role to play to prevent gambling harm and this guidance makes clear what we expect to see, which will be supported with enforcement action should we need it.

“In the current context, including the rise in the cost of living, it is more important than ever for operators to meet these requirements to identify customers at risk of harm.”

The new guidance forms part of the Commission’s ongoing drive to make gambling in Britain safer. The Commission will shortly be launching a further consultation on the ways to tackle three key financial risks for consumers: binge gambling, significant unaffordable losses over time and risks for those who are financially vulnerable.

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Baltics

Lithuania Sets New Lottery Age Purchase to +18

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The Budget and Finance Committee of Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliamentary Assembly) has completed a draft decree proposing new standards on lottery play and advertising for the Baltic state.

The Committee’s headline measure has called on parliament to undertake a vote to raise the minimum age of purchase of lottery tickets from 16-to-18 years of age. If approved, Lithuania’s government will enforce a new lottery age restriction from 1 January 2023.

The decree has further ordered Olifėja, Lithuania’s state-sanctioned operator, to display age-range notifications and safer gambling warnings across its weekly lottery draws of Teleloto, Vikinglotto, Eurojackpot and further Instant-win games.

Olifėja serves as Lithuania’s national lottery steward, charged with raising funds for the National Olympic Committee, its business activities monitored by Lithuania’s Gaming Control Authority.

Since 2020, the successive Lithuanian governments of PMs Saulius Skvernelis and Ingrida Šimonytė have chosen to amend the laws of the 2016 Gambling Act.

Last year, the government ordered the Gaming Control Authority to ban all licensed operators from promoting any form of gambling incentive (bonuses, discounts, reward programmes).

Furthermore, the government granted the Gaming Control Authority direct powers to IP-block unlicensed operators and to issue bigger fines on non-compliant operators, changes that were sanctioned as a COVID-19 civic protection measure.

Lithuania carries amongst the strictest age laws for gambling in Europe, in which players must be +21 years of age to enter a gambling venue.

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