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Compliance Updates

UK Gambling Commission Amends Requirements of Social Responsibility Code on Customer Interactions

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued an update on the introduction of its new remote customer interaction requirements and guidance. The regulator has also advised gambling operators to consider the contents of the announcement, as the body has now shifted the date on which some requirements will come into force and a consultation has been announced.

In April this year, UKGC published a set of new requirements to ensure companies do more to identify customers at risk of harm – Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.3 – and guidance to assist operators to comply with the requisites followed in June. Both the requirements and the guidance were due to take effect on September 12.

While the regulator notes the industry requested an extension to the timeframe for implementing these requirements – due to the technical challenges some companies indicated they are facing in delivering full compliance by the deadline – it has now decided that the majority of the new requirements will still come into force as planned, on September 12.

“Remote gambling operators are already subject to a duty to conduct effective customer interaction, and the new requirements reflect the minimum steps that we consider are necessary to meet that duty,” UKGC noted. However, the UKGC has also decided that certain requirements will not be brought into effect in September.

These now excluded provisions include a requirement to take timely action where indicators of vulnerability are identified and to take account of the Commission’s approach to vulnerability as set out in the UKGC’s guidance; and a requirement to prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonus offers where there are strong indicators of harm.

“In light of this extension, the Commission considers that it would be beneficial to use the time now available to conduct further consultation on matters to be addressed in the guidance associated with SR Code 3.4.3, by way of a consultation on the guidance document itself. Therefore, the requirement to take into account the Commission’s guidance on customer interaction for remote operators will also not be brought into effect in September,” UKGC said.

The UK gambling regulator said the guidance is “a living document” that is intended to be amended over time. As part of the consultation, the body will be “particularly interested” to hear about good practice in implementing the requirements, “based on the lessons learned by operators” during the period between April and September, and to hear about “any implications arising out of recent research, evidence and casework.”

“Consultation is likely to be launched during late September and will last six weeks. All views expressed in response to this six-week consultation will be carefully considered before a decision is taken on the contents of the guidance on the new requirements,” UKGC said.

Subject to consultation, the Commission’s provisional intention is to publish the guidance on the requirements “in December 2022,” with it taking effect approximately 2 months after publication.

“In the circumstances, we consider this will allow the industry a reasonable period to consider the guidance before it takes effect,” the Gambling Commission noted.

“It is the Commission’s intention, subject to consultation, to bring the remaining requirements of SR Code 3.4.3 and the associated guidance into effect on February 12, 2023,” UKGC concluded.

Compliance Updates

eGaming Integrity Launches to Enhance Compliance for OGRA Licence Holders and CSPs

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We proudly announce the official launch of eGaming Integrity, a specialised compliance services provider exclusively dedicated to protecting OGRA licence holders and the CSPs that support them.

Our mission is to enable online gambling operators, and the CSPs that support them, with the tools they need to thrive in the Isle of Man, ensuring integrity, transparency, and adherence to industry standards.

The Isle of Man eGaming sector continues to grow at a rapid pace, with the number of OGRA licensees more than doubling in recent years. With the sector having grown so quickly, it has led to a shortage of highly qualified, well trained, and egaming experienced compliance and AML professionals locally. This skills shortage presents a significant challenge for online gambling operators licensed here.

With our team of industry experts and former regulators, eGaming Integrity enables businesses to remain compliant with the stringent regulatory requirements under the Isle of Man licence through our tailored services which include mock audits, remediation, and internal audits.

Speaking about the requirement for such services, Emma Shilling, eGaming Integrity director said “licensed online gambling operators and local Corporate Service Providers have been looking for a credible provider to offer specialist services beyond day-to-day compliance. We’ve already helped several CSPs navigate the sector in previous roles, where eGaming isn’t always the primary area of expertise so businesses have sought our experience and industry knowledge to help them service their clients more effectively.”

Fellow director, Nick Bowden added “our in-depth evaluations prepare operators for regulatory visits, remediation support to bring businesses back into good standing with the regulator, and independent assurance makes sure risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively.

eGaming Integrity are now working with a number of OGRA licence holders and local CSPs, providing customised compliance and regulatory advisory services that align with business objectives and operational intricacies.

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Australia

Australia Enforces Credit Card Ban for Online Gambling

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Australia has enforced an online gambling credit card ban, meaning that players can no longer use them as a payment method.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members have been strong supporters of this measure and have worked with the Commonwealth Government and the financial services industry since 2021 to deliver this credit card ban.

Responsible Wagering Australia CEO Kai Cantwell said that this change was much needed, as Australians should only be gambling with money that they have.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.

“RWA and its members support the extension of this measure to all forms of gambling that have been exempted from the ban such as lotteries and keno.

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm.”

RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely, many of which have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protection tools are fit-for-purpose and support a safe and sustainable regulated gambling environment,” Mr Cantwell said.

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Compliance Updates

Ukraine Regulator KRAIL Blocks 371 Illegal Gambling Sites

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The Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) has announced that it has blocked 371 unlicensed gambling websites. It said joint action with the security service led to the issue of Order No. 451/2256, which instructs service providers to block the domains using Domain Name System (DNS) servers.

KRAIL said that during April and May it issued 1000 orders to limit access to domain names and subdomains.

While KRAIL remains operational, Ukraine’s parliament voted in April to disband the regulator. There had been criticism of the regulator’s collegial structure, which requires at least five of its six members to be present for meetings to be valid. Amid disruption caused by military service following the Russian invasion, this has often led to meetings being cancelled and long delays for licence applications.

There will be a second reading of the bill before it can be signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The liquidation of KRAIL would put gambling regulation under the digital transformation ministry until a new regulator is established.

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