The United Kingdom Gambling Commission Releases VIP Program Guidelines

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The United Kingdom Gambling Commission Releases VIP Program Guidelines ( Click to Enlarge )

The UKGC has previously cracked down on casino VIP programs online for what they believed were practices that weren’t fair to high stakes players in principle, but they have now released actual guidelines and added a required executive position that includes personal “skin in the game.”

New VIP Guidelines Come Down From the UK Gambling Commission

In anything where people are spending money, the Pareto principle applies. Also known as the “80/20 principle,” but in reality more like the “95/5 principle” in many cases, this economic principle tells us that a small portion of people will be responsible for the majority of spending in any particular area.

That has been the case with casinos, online and land-based, pretty much since gambling has ever been happening in an organized way, and the UKGC wants to make sure that small minority of players is being adequately protected.

High rollers and other high-volume players are often given special treatment through online casino VIP programs where they get things like better promotions, higher loyalty program rewards, faster payment processing and a personal account manager. As a result, the UK Gambling Commission has decided to crack down on these programs a bit in the past, but they have finally released some actual concrete guidelines that they expect casino operators to follow.

What These Guidelines Include

There are four particular points that the Gambling Commission has laid out specifically on top of another position that operators will be asked to add on the executive level. The four specific points they will be enforcing are as follows:

  1. Decide on an individual basis if there is any evidence of harm related to gambling or a level of heightened risk due to some type of particular vulnerability to gambling
  2. Make sure there is recent evidence as to the individual’s occupation and other information that demonstrates the origin of their account funding
  3. Establish that the level of spending in question from the individual is sustainable and is not impeding on that individual’s lifestyle or ability to use funds outside of their discretionary spending
  4. Conduct ongoing verification of these points, which includes regular checking with the individual to verify that the source of funding has stayed intact

What’s interesting to note is that these are essentially individualized versions of some of the guidelines that the UKGC has had online casinos and other gambling sites use for several years now. These guidelines will apply starting on October 31, 2020 for any site that wants to operate the type of VIP program in question.

A New Executive Position

We mentioned up above that a new executive position would also be introduced to enforce these guidelines. This position will need to be held by someone who is licensed as an individual to handle personal management with these accounts, and they will personally be responsible, not just as a part of the company but as an individual, for enforcing these guidelines.

This is one of the only examples of the UK Gambling Commission creating enforcement based on individual responsibility as opposed to the responsibility of a company as a whole, which is interesting and establishes a precedent that could be expanded on in the future.

The Issue With VIP Programs

In mid-early 2019, the UKGC put out some very aggressive statements that made it clear that they would be going after VIP programs of this type. In response, most operators started running a tighter ship, so to speak, about how they were handling those accounts. An interesting statistic to this point is that around 70 percent of all VIP programs accounts were removed since those statements were put out, which shows just how seriously operators are taking this.

As a result, we have every reason to believe that the casino operators will fall in line on these guidelines without too much fuss, even considering that they will need to appoint a new senior executive position to handle these accounts personally.

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