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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released an update on the introduction of its new remote customer interaction requirements and guidelines. The regulator has also advised gambling operators to consider the content of the announcement as the body has now shifted the date on which certain requirements will come into effect and a consultation has been announced.

In April this year, the UKGC published a set of new requirements to ensure businesses do more to identify customers at risk of harm – Provision 3.4.3 of the Social Responsibility Code – and guidance to help operators to comply with the requirements followed in June. The requirements and guidelines were to come into effect on September 12.

While the regulator notes that industry has asked for an extension to the deadline for implementing these requirements – due to the technical challenges some companies have said they face in fully complying with the deadline – it has now decided that the majority of the new requirements will still come into effect as planned, on September 12.

“Remote gaming operators are already subject to an obligation to conduct effective customer interaction, and the new requirements reflect the minimum steps we consider necessary to fulfill this obligation,” UKGC noted. However, the UKGC has also decided that certain requirements will not come into force in September.

These now excluded provisions include the obligation to take action in a timely manner when vulnerability indicators are identified and to take into account the Commission’s approach to vulnerability, as set out in the guidelines of the UKGC; and an obligation to prevent the marketing and acceptance of new bonus offers where there are strong indicators of harm.

“In light of this extension, the Commission considers that it would be beneficial to use the time now available to conduct further consultations on the issues to be addressed in the guidance associated with SR 3.4.3, through a consultation on the guidance document itself. Therefore, the obligation to take into account the Commission’s guidance on customer interaction for remote operators will also not come into force in September”, said UKGC.

The UK gambling regulator said the guidelines are “a living document” which is intended to be amended over time. As part of the consultation, the body will be “particularly interested” in learning about good practices in implementing the requirements, “based on lessons learned by operators” during the period between April and September, and in hearing “ all implications arising from recent research, evidence and case studies.

“The consultation should be launched at the end of September and will last six weeks. All views expressed in response to this six-week consultation will be carefully considered before a decision is taken on the content of the guidance on the new requirements,” the UKGC said.

Subject to consultation, the tentative intention of the Commission is to publish the guidance on the requirements “in December 2022”, with effect approximately 2 months after publication.

“Under the circumstances, we consider this will allow the industry a reasonable period of time to review the guidelines before they come into effect,” the Gaming Commission noted.

“The Commission intends, subject to consultation, to bring into force the remaining SR 3.4.3 code requirements and associated guidance on 12 February 2023,” the UKGC concluded.