The Gambling Commission has announced strict new guidance for gambling operators to clean up the malpractice of so-called ‘VIP’ schemes. UK gambling operators have been warned that there should be no irresponsible incentivisation of high-value customers.
The Commission has identified VIP schemes as an area for change, and has challenged the gambling industry to work together to assess this issue through an industry code of conduct. Following in extensive consultation, all operators will now need to follow new guidance on these schemes, which see high-value customers provided with tailored bonuses, gifts, hospitality, and preferential service from an operator designed to maintain or increase their custom.
The new measures outline an extensive vetting process, which includes establishing whether spending levels are sustainable and affordable, whether there is evidence of gambling-related harm, and whether customer information is up-to-date. Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “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. 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. 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.”