The UKGC message - New strict guidance for VIP schemes

The UK Gambling Commission has announced new rules to stamp out irresponsible VIP customer practices. In short, the message is to clean up bad practice of VIP schemes. UKGC stating that if the guidance is followed there should be no irresponsible incentivisation of high value customers in the future. The motive is to strengthen consumer protection. It was stated that the regulator has made addressing these schemes a priority after seeing repeated instances of failure to protect high-valued customers.

This message hardly comes as a big surprise. Earlier this year The UKGC identified VIP schemes as an area for change and challenged the industry to "clean up", and also pushing them to work together to address the issue through an industry code of conduct. It was mentioned that following an extensive consultation, all operators will now need to follow new guidance on these schemes – Before any operator makes a customer a VIP (from 31 October) it must:

  • Establish that spending is affordable and sustainable as part of the customer’s leisure spend.
  • Assess whether there is evidence of gambling related harm, or heightened risk linked to vulnerability.
  • Ensure the licensee has up to date evidence relating to identity, occupation and source of funds.
  • Continue to verify the information provided to them and conduct ongoing gambling harm checks on each individual to spot any signs of harm.

Neil McArthur, The UKGC chief executive, says: “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.