VIP Schemes: Scrutiny and the Bounty
While iGaming platforms are free to enjoy the bounty of their innovation and enterprise in the marketplace, they must also be subject to closer scrutiny, the anti-betting lobby is signalling as the fight to shape an amended, fit-for-purpose, Gambling Act (2005) gathers intensity.
VIP schemes have emerged as the new target for campaigners who seek to ban them not only for under-25-year-olds — but also for all punters.
In language reminiscent of the pulpit and high moral outrage, betting’s VIP culture has been tarred: “immoral” by anti-wagers, led by cross-party Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader, and Carolyn Harris, Labour MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm.
In equal terms, the industry’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) asserts that–working with in tandem with the regulatory Gambling Commission, it has already made the tough moves on VIP accounts: imposing a new code of conduct that has shrunk VIP customer numbers by 70 per cent.
Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Group insist that, in an all too cosy relationship between industry and regulator, VIP schemes drive gamblers deeper into debt.
As contemporary iGaming and the world of betting gear-up for a new market of regulation and clarity, perhaps banning VIP schemes will be a sacrifice worth bearing — and one sufficient to hush industry critics.