UKGC expects ‘mixture’ of operator movements over new BGC code

Home » UKGC expects ‘mixture’ of operator movements over new BGC code

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes says there will be a “mixture of movements” from UK operators reacting to the newly agreed Industry Voluntary Code on Customer Checks.

Alongside confirmation of a pilot of more enhanced financial risk checks on higher-spending gamblers, the Betting and Gaming Council on Wednesday revealed the introduction of the new interim code, developed in partnership with the Commission.

The code, which is voluntary, sets out what interactions a BGC operator must take when customers wish to make net deposits of more than £5,000 in a rolling month and when they wish to make net deposits of £25,000 in any rolling 12-month period.

Only customers wanting to spend over £25,000 in any rolling 12-month period may have to provide financial documents to prove they are not at financial risk, the code says.

Speaking in a media briefing with the gambling trade press after the news – at which InterGame was present – Rhodes said some operators who operate at lower thresholds than the code “intend to stay there” because “that’s their option.”

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“These are minimum standards, not maximums. Everybody doesn’t have to do the same thing, but as a minimum they will do these things,” Rhodes added.

“Am I concerned that people will move to higher thresholds? Well, they [operators] have to manage their customers and the customer risk will be assessing whether the interactions are happening when they should be and if they are of sufficient quality.

“All of those things remain the same. What this is doing is removing some of the variability we’ve seen because I know there are operators who had thresholds which are higher than this who are coming down, so you will see a mixture of movements.”

Rhodes added that one operator said they are “not confident” that their policies and procedures are yet robust enough in their implementation to change from where they are.

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“They want a higher degree of intervention and control until they’re comfortable,” he said. “We’ll probably see that across the spectrum.”

Tim Miller, the Gambling Commission’s executive director of research and policy, revealed the types of information that will be used during the pilot of the checks, which will come on top of light-touch financial vulnerability checks also announced by the Gambling Commission.

The “phased approach” will firstly see operators look at historic data for non-active accounts before they will analyse historic data for active accounts.

“The final stage will be looking at more live data,” he said. “Information they will be getting from credit reference agencies will not be detailed transaction histories, it will be about the credit reference agencies helping to build an overall risk assessment of that customer.

“As the pilot progresses, we’ll have a clearer idea as to whether we’re getting the right type of data to give the right regulatory outcomes. We are approaching this pilot with an entirely open mind.”

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Miller said that mandating the biggest operators to take part in the pilot – which will last between four to six months – will “give us good coverage of the market,” but he said smaller operators will also be invited to take part to give a “sense of what’s going on in different parts of the market.”

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