VIP players under scrutiny in the UK

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Data from betting companies suggests that operators are relying on high-spending VIP players, suggests UK newspaper The Guardian.



In a front-page report today, the newspaper says that the Gambling Commission is considering whether to ban VIP schemes as a result of a report it has obtained.

With the UK government preparing to review gambling legislation, the report may concern many operators who use membership programmes to reward players with free bets, cashback on losing wagers or football tickets.

According to The Guardian, the award of VIP status has been cited as a factor in seven out of 10 regulatory penalties issued to companies by the commission for failures to prevent problem gambling. The newspaper suggests that VIP customers are proportionately likely to be addicts.

It obtained a comment from the Gambling Commission stating that it was already taking action to address “poor practice” linked to VIP programmes, but was ready to go further.

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“Operators must improve their interaction with VIPs and we have challenged the industry to make faster progress to improve how they manage their customers. We have also taken robust action against operators who fail to protect consumers and we will be even tougher if behaviour does not change,” said the commission spokesman.

Nine companies were surveyed in the collection of data for the report. They are not named, but The Guardian says that “they are among the UK’s largest and best known” operators.

For the Betting and Gaming Council, the industry trade association, Brigid Simmons, chairperson, said: “Our industry recognises the need to change practices in this area and we will soon publish the terms of a review for a new industry code of conduct. We intend to consult widely on the shape of this new code, to ensure we are always putting the welfare of our customers first.”

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