commission industry game code ensure gambling design

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Gambling Commission publishes report on the progress of its Industry Challenge### IntroductionIn October 2019, the Gambling Commission set out three challenges foroperators to tackle in order to make gambling safer for consumers see Law-Nowarticle. The challenges set were on: (i) incentives for high value customers;(ii) game and product design; and (iii) the use of ad-tech to protectvulnerable individuals online (collectively, the “Industry Challenge”).On 19 June 2020, the Commission published a report on phase 1 of the IndustryChallenge initiative and provided an overview of the Commission’s plans forphase 2, where the Commission will look to incorporate the positive steps madeby industry into the regulatory framework (the “Report”).### Incentives for High Value CustomersAs part of the Industry Challenge, the Commission asked key stakeholders tocollectively develop a code of conduct which ensures the incentivisation ofhigh value customers is offered in a safe and responsible way. Consequently,an industry working group chaired by GVC and Betting and Gambling Council(“BGC”) developed a draft code, which included several actions such asundertaking full customer assessments before offering such schemes, clearexecutive oversight and accountability and restricting access of such schemesfor 18 to 24-year-olds.In the Report, the Commission confirms that “for tailored incentives andbonuses to continue to have a place in the industry, we need to be satisfiedthey are being offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensingobjectives. Where a licensee cannot provide that assurance, they should not beoffering such schemes/incentives.” The Commission has stated that thepublished code will be used as the basis for a Licence Conditions and Codes ofPractice (“LCCP”) consultation in June 2020 to ensure these minimumrequirements are enforceable across the whole industry see Law-Now article.### Game and Product DesignThe Commission acknowledges that the success of many technology companies,digital content creators and gaming machine games designers depends on theirability to establish and maintain consumer engagement with their web, mobileapps and in-premises gaming machines. However, the Commission also notes that,amongst other factors, speed of play and frequency of betting opportunitiescan increase addiction and risk of harm. As a result, the Commissionchallenged the industry to consider what responsible innovation looks like interms of game design and product.Following this, the BGC has stated that it is committed to publishing a fullcode to address the reengineering of games and gaming devices by 30 September2020. The core elements that the code will address are the following: * A minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds on all slots. * The removal of game features that speed up play such as quick spin and turbo play, and slam stop or stop reels will not be permitted. * Games that allow players to place multiple, different stakes on multiple slots games within a single gaming client will not be allowed.The BGC has also suggested that they wanted to establish a SustainableProducts and Game Design Working Group to explore in-game features such asvolatility, innovations and so forth.In the Report, the Commission applauds the positive suggestions put forward bythe BGC around removing game cycle intensity. However, the Commission feltthat the BGC’s draft code falls short in certain areas such as there being noaction on adopting a maximum stake per spin. Therefore, the suggestions madeby the BGC will be the basis for an LCCP consultation before the end of June2020, but the Commission has committed to add additional proposals aroundthree broad areas, namely: (i) measures to ensure enhanced control; (ii)measures to ensure safe and fair game characteristics; and (iii) measures toensure informed player choice.### The use of Ad-TechThe Commission challenged the industry to work together to demonstratetangible progress on a plan to set new standards for how industry will embraceonline ad-tech for social responsibility purposes, actively targeting awayfrom vulnerable audiences.The industry working group produced immediate voluntary steps which theworking group would be committed to implemented (the “Commitments”). Theyinclude (among others): better and more consistent use of customer data toensure paid-for ads are targeting away from vulnerable groups; age-gatingYouTube channels and content; and adopting and rolling out to all affiliates acode of conduct, which will be updated and amended on a regular basis toensure all measures implemented by industry are implemented equally byaffiliates. These Commitments will be enshrined in the Gambling Industry Codefor Socially Responsible Advertising from July 2020. The Commission haswelcomed the adoption of the Commitments and has confirmed that it willcontinue to monitor the evolution of ad-tech.Article co-authored by Fatima Butt

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