GVC Holdings, the operator of Ladbrokes Coral announced it is considering a reorganization of its customer service teams, to make adjustments for the upcoming new VIP rules that will most probably be adopted by the gaming industry. The operator outlined that some of the roles are at risk of redundancy, but downsizing will be kept at a minimum.
GC Initiated VIP Consultations
The gambling industry in the country has been taking heavy flak for months, mainly for failing to protect its vulnerable customers, and the Gambling Commission (GC) initiated public consultation on the issue of high value VIP customer schemes last month. Part of the debate was whether to make the upcoming VIP scheme changes part of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) for all licensees.
The industry-wide consultation was a result of the call from the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group to suspend all VIP schemes, ban gambling-related content from public spaces and impose an online slot games limit equal to the fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) limit implemented in 2018.
“These schemes drive profit for the industry and […] the Commission itself has seen the dependence of the gambling industry on VIP customers of those who are disproportionately likely to be addicts. One firm is said to have taken 83% of all deposits from just 2% of its customers through VIP schemes.”
A working group within the Gambling Commission, led by representatives from GVC Holdings came up with new rules for high value VIP customers that would limit the schemes to persons at the age of 25 or above. The industry representative body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) adopted the proposed rules to help its members cope with the controversial elements of these schemes that were attracting public and political criticism.
Industry Changes Looming
In June, the Public Accounts Committee within the House of Lords issued a damning report on the effectiveness of the Gambling Commission as well as the Department for Culture, Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS), identifying failures in seven key areas that prevented the two governmental bodies to ensure protection for vulnerable people from gambling harm. According to recent numbers, there are 400,000 active gambling addicts in the UK, with another 1.8 million people identified at risk.
The industry is facing a total overhaul, as in the beginning of July, a Select Committee within the House of Lords came up with a set of proposals regarding the presence of gambling operators and bookmakers in British sport. Among the proposed measures to eliminate possible risk of developing gambling harm, the committee requested gambling shirt sponsorship deals be phased out of sports, as well as no gambling-related ads in or near sports venues, including inside match-day programmes.