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BGC introduces monthly checks of over PS5k

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The new code of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which is voluntary, requires operators to carry out risk assessments on all customers who wish to deposit more than PS5000 per month.

Today (1 May), the BGC released a Code on Customer Checks. This code is to be used in conjunction with the frictionless affordability check of the GB Gambling Commission.

Today, the Commission announced an official pilot program for frictionless check. The Commission also announced a timetable for implementing the other proposals that were included in the white paper of the first consultation round on the Gambling Act Review.

This code has been developed with the Commission, and the UK Government is behind it. The voluntary scheme will only be in place until frictionless checks from the Commission can successfully pass their initial test.

After feedback was received from last year’s consultation, the frictionless assessments of financial risks were developed. The conversation at the time was dominated by affordability checks. The Commission stated that the checks would not be conducted in real-time or have any impact on player ratings.

The BGC code requires operators to conduct a risk analysis if players want to deposit more than PS5k. The risk assessment is for both a month-long period or its equivalent. It is used to determine if there are any indicators of financial harm or to get more information about their situation.

A monthly net deposit between PS2,500 and PS5,000 will initiate the risk assessment for players ages 18 to 24.

What is the Risk Assessment?

This will require that the risk assessment includes one or more of the approaches described in this code. They are:

  • An interaction based on gambling that is safer with the customer. The customer will be asked to declare their income in a live two-way chat, or via phone.
  • The affordability of the players is assessed. You can estimate their annual income by asking about their position and salary.
  • Open-source data can be a good source of information. Included in this could be Companies House and past winnings.
  • Review of the information provided by customers;
  • Third-party financial insights are provided by a business that must comply with statutory regulations.

Similar approaches can also be used. The risk assessment would be elevated to the category of enhanced consideration if an operator identified high-risk activities.

Customer deposits of PS25,000 or more in any 12-month rolling period are subject to an enhanced consideration check. Operators can assess this by using customer wins and their net positions.

BGC, along with the Commission, is also developing a code of conduct to combat what they call “intrusive documents checks”.

The press release stated that “while this code is a step forward in addressing the intrusive documentation checks issue, it doesn’t offer a full solution.” The BGC and GC have now been working on a code on anti-money laundering checks that also prompt requests for documentation.

In the interim, code could help progress.

Michael Dugher said that the BGC code is a step forward in eliminating document checks.

He said that the code was a good step forward in solving a problem which has been the subject of heated debate. It will increase consistency in safer gambling standards and remove intrusive documents checks from many people who currently are subjected to them.

The code will enhance existing gambling regulations, he said.

It is important to remember that the new code will be added on top of all of the other safe gambling practices our members have already implemented. “These only exist in the sector that is regulated,” he added. While this is a good step in the right directions, we know that more work needs to be accomplished.

Andrew Rhodes (chief executive officer of the Commission) said the code will allow progress to be made while frictionless financial risks pilot is being conducted.

He explained that the voluntary code would help to ensure consumers a transparent and consistent approach across all participating operators when customer spending is the catalyst for action. We believe this code can help to address the different approaches that operators have taken today in regards to the triggers for customer spending, as we run a pilot using the frictionless risk assessment system the government has proposed.

Timeline for the first consultation round of proposals

As such, the second step of the financial check-ups released today, is “light touch” checks. Light-touch checks are to be implemented in two phases. First, customers who deposit more than PS500 net per month will be checked. Second, customers who make a monthly net deposit exceeding PS150 will be checked.

These stages begin on 30 August 2024, and end in February 2025.

A wave of new regulations was also announced by the Commission for direct marketing, age verification and online game design. The Commission has also outlined a wave of new rules for online games design, direct marketing and age verification.

Operators must also display the net amount spent by a player and how much time he or she has played. The changes are set to take effect on 17th January 2025.

From 17 January 2025, gambling businesses must also give their players the option to choose which product categories they want to be informed about.

Good practice code is also being modified. The new version will be in effect from 30 August, 2024. The staff at venues on land will now have to verify a client’s age when they are younger than 25 instead of 21. The land-based venues must also implement procedures for age verification.

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