Gambling Commission extends deadline for gambling harm consultation

The UK Gambling Commission has extended the submission deadline for its consultation on gambling-related harms.

The UK Gambling Commission has extended the submission deadline for its consultation and call for evidence on remote customer interaction by four weeks until 9 February 2021.

Why was the Commission’s consultation deadline extended?

The Commission said it would extend the consultation and call for evidence dealing due to high levels of engagement last month.

In its announcement, the Commission said: “This extension will allow more time for detailed feedback and the strongest evidence base possible from consumers and other stakeholders.”

The UK gambling regulator launched its consultation and called for evidence on remote customer interaction on 3 November. 

The Commission is calling for views and feedback from consumers, people with lived experience, industry and other stakeholders on stronger requirements for online operators to identify consumers who may be at risk of developing gambling-related problems and the preventative measures operators should take. 

The call for evidence includes affordability checks and actions that can be taken for vulnerable customers.

The Commission’s call for evidence

When Announcing the consultation in November, the Commission said that while operators already have the ability to identify customers who may be harmed by gambling, evidence suggests that the industry has not used its abilities to adequately reduce gambling harms. As a result of this, the Commission hopes to gather feedback on how these processes can be improved.

The regulatory body also said it aims to have licensees implement stronger requirements, as well as defined affordability checks at thresholds set by the Commission.

The regulator also wants to gauge stakeholder opinions as to what these thresholds for affordability assessments should be, the nature of the checks and how operators are required to protect their customers after an assessment has been carried out.

Although the consultation and call for evidence are open to all stakeholders, the regulator said it will place a particular focus on feedback from consumers.

At the time of the announcement, Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said: “Whilst some operators have continued to improve their customer interaction processes, our evidence shows that many online operators are not setting thresholds for action at appropriate levels. They are not taking the appropriate action or acting quickly enough when they do identify risks of potential harm.

“We are clear on the need for gambling companies to take further action and that the Commission must set firm requirements to set consistent standards. But we want to have an open discussion with the gambling industry, consumers, people with lived experience and other stakeholders, to ensure we strike the right balance between allowing consumer freedom and ensuring that there are protections in place to prevent gambling harm.”

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