Why responsible gambling best practice isn’t enough anymore
Responsible gaming is a moving target and it’s not good enough to simply aim for a best practice approach anymore. Instead, you need something that’s fit for purpose in a changing market.
Ensuring that players can gamble safely is a key priority for gambling operators. At its heart, a responsible gaming environment means operators must only let players gamble with what they can afford to spend, using funds obtained legally and in a way that is not damaging to their health.
Gambling operators face criticism from many quarters including parliament, charities, the Gambling Commission and public opinion. Sometimes the criticism is justified, especially when there has been a failure of internal controls allowing a player to spend beyond their means or to gamble with illicitly obtained funds.
Tragically these failures can sometimes lead to individuals harming themselves or committing further crimes to fuel their addiction.
When the Gambling Commission gets involved in a specific issue and an operator is found to be at fault, the sanctions can be significant. Since 2017 the Gambling Commission has increased the level of its enforcement actions, both financially and via licence suspension.
Source of funds checks have been a particular area of concern. In February this year the Commission suspended an operator’s licence for social responsibility and money laundering failings, imposing a significant fine.
Another operator was fined millions for social responsibility and VIP source of funds check failings in March. These penalties illustrate the business, financial and reputational risk of failing to operate in a compliant and responsible way.
Effective controls will demonstrate that if a player can’t afford their losses then they are either losing money irresponsibly ,which will cause them and their family harm, or they are losing money they have stolen, which is an AML failure.
Implementing extended due diligence checks on high-value source of funds via an identity verification partner is essential. However, implementing other effective controls across the full customer base has not historically been straightforward.
Fit for purpose
Players may be reluctant to provide financial information for privacy, lack of understanding or social stigma reasons.
Conducting digital affordability checks as part of the player onboarding and identity verification process removes the need for an expensive, manual and ultimately inconsistent process. It underpins a robust approach to responsible gambling in a consistent, transparent and compliant manner.
GBG Senior Business Development Manager Rebekah Jackson said: “It is no longer sufficient to claim your business follows responsible gambling best practice.
“It is now essential to be able to demonstrate to both your regulator and the wider body of opinion that your responsible gambling process is fit for purpose in a changing market.”