It’s do or die, for gaming’s hitherto very lucrative V.I.P. schemes.
Either they buckle down and tighten up–by running a full assessment of a customer before offering them V.I.P. status–or the schemes get banned altogether.
That’s the message coming from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) as they try to improve standards and build greater safeguards against addiction.
“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations,” warned UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur this week. “If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes.”
Either this or V.I.P.s are going to become even more special: V.V.I.Ps if you will.
The industry’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has thrown its full support behind the new regulations.
Now, from October 31, before conferring V.I.P. status, operators must establish whether “spending is affordable and sustainable as part of the customer’s leisure spend”.
In addition, they must make a full assessment of “whether there is evidence of gambling-related harm or a heightened risk linked to vulnerability”.
Licence holders must ensure that they have up-to-date evidence of identity, occupation and source of funds.
The number of punters with V.I.P. accounts is now set to fall by three-quarters. Gamblers under 25-years-old are banned from the schemes altogether.
“Any customer considered for a V.I.P. reward programme must first pass rigorous safer gambling checks and be subject to ongoing checks on their betting behaviour,” the BGC said.
“Reward programmes must be overseen by senior management and conducted in a clear and transparent way to prevent any betting-related harm. Operators are also banned from incentivising customers based on losses.
“This is further evidence of our commitment to driving up standards within our industry,” affirmed the BGC.
The UK Gambling Commission, meanwhile, suggested that VIP managers should also be given “enhanced training” on safer gambling and anti-money laundering protocols.
Last week, in the ongoing campaign to make betting safer, the BGC announced that its members had agreed to limit the spin speed of slots to 2.5 seconds per spin.
So-called Turbo Play, which allows players to speed-up games, and playing multi slots was also banned.