Coming out of lockdown as the goalposts keep moving

With lockdown restrictions easing we hand over to KnowNow MD Paula to look at the Gambling Commission guidelines introduced throughout and our Compliance and Player Protection training to help navigate your business through them.

Here we are coming into the summer months and slowly starting to emerge from lockdown. Bookies in England are opening their doors, casinos and bingo halls are preparing to do the same. What an absolute rollercoaster ride the last few months have been on so many levels.

Paula Murphy MD KnowNow Limited

Compliance and Player Protection.

For those working in compliance and player protection in the gambling industry it’s been a particularly eventful time. We went into lockdown in March amidst warnings of a potential problem gambling epidemic and concerns that people stuck at home were likely to spend huge amounts of time and money gambling online. To date, the data seems to tell us that didn’t happen and there is no evidence of marked increase in problem gambling.

Gambling Commission Guidelines.

Throughout lockdown the Gambling Commission also introduced a host of new guidelines designed to ensure people are more protected from harm. Operators were asked to implement changes including increased affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals, restrictions on bonus offers and a requirement to check in with online customers after an hour, “as soon as possible”. 

Last week, in an announcement about the impact of Covid-19 on gambling behavior, the Gambling Commission said they would continue to track and assess the risk by: 

  • assessing the impact of the strengthened guidance issued to operators
  • collecting and publishing the data being gathered
  • supporting the industry as land-based premises begin to open
  • where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

At KnowNow we’ve been holding a regular customer call to help our clients through this time and last week we focused on this very issue. I’m here to tell you that if you are struggling with the new guidelines, you are not alone!

It seems very likely that these guidelines will become permanent under code 3.4.1 of the LCCP. They have been introduced without consultation. Compliance professionals are being tasked with implementing the changes against a backdrop lacking in guidance and clarity on exactly what is required. Add into the mix that teams are disparate right now due to working from home and not being together in an office environment and it’s completely understandable that people are having sleepless nights about this. 

I was even more disappointed to hear that requests from some professionals for further guidance have fallen on stony ground without any kind of response at all. 

Collaboration has been the keyword for our industry for a very long time and going into lockdown there were a number of working groups looking at key player protection issues such as VIP’s, responsible marketing and game design. It was encouraging to see operators coming together in this organised fashion. However we seem to have very quickly moved to a situation where the perception is one of a host of new requirements issued without consultation and an expectation on operators to implement them under challenging conditions without proper guidance. My worry is that we don’t want the legacy of this crisis to be one step forward and two steps back! 

Online training.

I have said this many times before but my experience of working with this industry has been a positive one. I see a lot of people who genuinely care about not just complying with regulation but achieving best practice. 

Starting at the end of this month we will be running a digital training programme that is specifically designed to help operators deal with these very challenges at this uncertain time. We have teamed up with Rightway Compliance and Seventh Wave Training to give you access to experts who can help you discuss the interpretation of these changes and the further implications. The course is split into two tracks, compliance and player protection. This will comprise 10 sessions over a 5 week period. Our aim is to really nail the detail in terms of best practice, bridging the gap between following the letter of the regulation and the spirit behind it. 

Compliance and Player Protection in times of Crisis is designed to help you manage all of these issues against a backdrop of uncertainty. We’ll help you navigate rapid change in terms of what is coming around the corner from a regulatory perspective. We will also take into account the fact that you are doing all of this with reduced and disparate teams. In turn, we’ll look at ways to help you return to a new normal in terms of how you operate, bringing all of your staff along on the message. 

For more information or to book your place on this business critical training please visit the event page. There is so much to talk about, I hope to see you there.

Compliance and Player Protection in times of crisis


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