David Clifton to chair Player Protection Forum

We are delighted that David Clifton, Director of Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited will chair our Player Protection Forum in May.

When he first started advising the industry in 1983 the concept of Responsible Gambling hadn’t seen the light of day. He outlines, below, how gambling has become more accessible to a wider public over the years, leading to increased regulation. He also highlights recent industry developments likely to feature at the Forum…

David Clifton

Player Protection Forum.

I first started advising the UK gambling industry in 1983. At that time, the concept of responsible gambling hadn’t seen the light of day and gambling advertising was essentially prohibited.

The underlying principle of regulation in those days was that the availability of gambling facilities should be no greater than the extent necessary to meet unstimulated demand for them. Compliance with this principle was facilitated by the fact that gambling was largely restricted then to bricks and mortar premises, at a time when the telephone still represented the cutting edge of technology.

The launch of the National Lottery in 1994 changed all of that by introducing gambling to a wider public. This led to calls from other sectors of the gambling industry for deregulation, including the liberalization of gambling advertising.

This was swiftly followed by the technological revolution that resulted in the advent of online gambling, leading the Gambling Commission’s predecessor as regulator (the Gaming Board for Great Britain) to express concern in 1996 about “the potential for the proliferation of uncontrolled and unregulated gambling opportunities”, fearing that “large-scale hard gambling activities could become available in people’s homes with no proper control over such matters as gambling on credit or by children and other young persons”.

That is one of the reasons why the Gambling Review Body was set up in 2000 under the chairmanship of Sir Alan Budd. Included within its terms of reference was consideration of (a) the social impact of gambling and (b) the extent of regulations appropriate for gambling activities having regard to, amongst other things, protecting the young and vulnerable from exploitation, protecting all gamblers from unfair practices and ensuring the availability and effectiveness of treatment programmes for problem gamblers.

Gambling Act 2005.

The Gambling Act 2005 followed, coming into force in 2007, with the Gambling Commission’s Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice prescribing the minimum social responsibility standards required of licensed gambling operators. Those standards have steadily become more robust with the passing years, including notably the “strengthening social responsibility” changes introduced in May 2015.

However, it was the appointment of Sarah Harrison as Chief Executive of the Commission in late 2015 that heralded a major new regulatory focus on raising standards, reducing gambling-related harms and empowering consumers. She made it clear that this last ambition required not only putting consumers at the heart of regulation but also putting consumer interests at the heart of operators’ businesses with provision of better access to information and tools to help them manage their gambling, better education about risks and information regarding their choices.

In what was almost her final speech as CEO in February 2018, Sarah Harrison made a pledge that is being continued by her successor, Neil McArthur, that the Commission would provide “leadership to forge a sustained, world-leading approach to tackling gambling related harms”. She added that “operators need to get better at working together to prevent and minimise harms”, itself the foundation for the Commission’s ongoing call for greater collaboration between operators in all gambling sectors in order “to rebuild consumer and public trust, to build a future for this industry with strong foundations based upon fairness and safety”.

Things have certainly moved on since then and, 15 months later on 22 May 2019, KnowNow is holding its Player Protection Forum which I will have the honour of chairing.

Recent developments that are more than likely to feature at the event include:

1) The problem gambling statistics contained in the Gambling Commission’s “Gambling participation in 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes” Annual Report and “Young People and Gambling” Report 2018.

2) Concerns arising from the 90% failure rate in tests regarding under-age play on pub gaming machines.

3) The Commission’s current calls for evidence on gambling online with credit cards and Category B gaming machines.

4) The Commission’s current consultation on customer interaction & ADR and call for evidence on gambling website blocking software.

5) The recent development by Barclays and other banks of gambling spend blocking tools.

6) The Commission’s recent call for greater transparency for customers, specifically in relation to the question “do they know who they’re participating against?”.

7) The RGSB advice to the Commission in response to its consultation on the new National Responsible Gambling Strategy.

8) The Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Inquiry into links between gaming & gambling, loot boxes and eSports.

9) The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into the harms caused by online gambling, launched in February.

10) The crackdown on regulation of online gambling recently proposed by the Labour Party.

11) The recently announced Howard League’s Commission on crime and problem gambling that will run for the next three years.

12) New gambling advertising standards to protect under 18s coming into effect on 1 April, the voluntary “whistle to whistle” sports betting advertising ban coming into force on 1 August and concerns arising from analysis showing that five times more spent on gambling marketing online than on television.

13) Forthcoming changes to the protection of customer funds rating system coming into effect on 29 April.

14) LCCP changes on age and identity verification for remote gambling coming into effect on 7 May.

15) The Commission’s co-creation workshops on communicating safer gambling messages and sharing best practice in use of data in identification of gambling related harm.

16) A qualitative independent research report entitled “In control: How to support safer gambling using a behaviour change approach”,published by the Senet Group, that examines gambling behaviours in the context of personal control.

17) The teething problems encountered by GamStop during its ongoing initial set-up stage.

18) The launch by GVC of a global responsible gambling campaign.

19) The establishment of a Gambling Health Alliance intended to act as a signposting organisation to other resources relevant to preventing gambling related harm.

20) The warning by Gambling Minister Mims Davies at the 6th annual Gamble Aware Harm Minimisation conference of a mandatory levy on licensed gambling operators to fund research, education and treatment of problem gambling.

I urge all with an interest in addressing the issue of gambling-related harm to attend the Player Protection Forum

Player Protection Forum and Workshop

About David Clifton.

David Clifton is a founding director of Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited. He has specialized for 35 years in all aspects of licensing and gambling law. He advises a broad range of gambling industry clients both throughout the UK and overseas. In addition he has been a contributing editor for leading textbooks on the subject of gambling law.

Whilst practising as a solicitor, he was for many years top-ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession, where he was “singled out for his advocacy skills” and described as “a genuine expert in the fieldfantastically dedicated and client-oriented”.

With Suzanne Davies, David set up Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited in 2013 to provide practical compliance, regulatory, licensing and gambling law advice to both online and land-based sectors of the gambling industry.

He is a very highly-regarded commentator on the gambling industry, both nationally within the UK and internationally. This has made him a much sought after speaker at conferences worldwide.

David Clifton has moderated the following panel discussions at KnowNow conferences:

High rollers and Problem Gambling.

Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators in January 2018
David Clifton
AML Update.
Keeping Crime out of Gambling 2019.
David Clifton AML Update

Book your tickets today for the Player Protection Forum and Workshop.

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