Gambling Commission -COVID-19
From Neil McArthur – Chief Exec, Gambling Commission
As the situation with COVID-19 continues to impact daily life in Great Britain, like many of you, the Commission is following Public Health England guidance and we have told all staff to work from home until further notice.
We recognise these unprecedented circumstances will be having a significant impact on your business and many will be facing uncertain and unsettling times. The Commission has a well-practised and comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, which we have invoked with the intention of minimising the impact on our regulatory work and the advice and services we provide.
A number of operators have already contacted us to alert us to the challenges they face and seek our advice about how to respond. We realise that the unprecedented changes to daily life, and in some cases, financial uncertainty, will create challenges for your business. The changes will also increase the risks to some individuals, which means that despite the fact that these are challenging times we must all continue to protect consumers.
First and foremost, we expect all our licensees to follow the applicable Public Health guidance, which I am confident you will already be doing. Where facilities for gambling are being offered, we expect all our licensees to ensure that they have sufficient management, staffing and oversight in place to maintain compliance with the LCCP that apply to their licences. The social distancing measures that are being put in place will mean that more people will be at home and we would like to remind online operators that they must continue to act responsibly, especially in regards to individual customer affordability and increased social responsibility interactions.
Please get in touch with your Account Manager in the normal way to notify of any key events or questions you have during this time. If you have other questions or queries, please let me know and I will do my best to get you an answer.
The Lotteries Council has also prepared an article which intends to provide businesses with some current guidance in the ever-changing climate following the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and Government restrictions in place please click here for more information.
2020 Conference Postponed
Since we reviewed the conference at the beginning of the week, matters have moved on. Indeed, in the last 24 hours or so in Europe:
- Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark have all announced bans on gatherings of over 100 people
- the Czech Republic has announced a ban on gatherings of over 30 people
- Scotland is going to ban gatherings of over 500
- Denmark, Ireland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovakia and parts of Germany have announced school closures
- the Electoral Commission is calling for the local elections in May to be postponed
- the number of sports events being cancelled is growing by the hour (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/51605235)
The outcome of the COBRA meeting yesterday afternoon decided:
- The UK will move from the containment to the delay stage with immediate effect
- Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature or continuous cough should self-isolate for seven days
- There should be no international school trips
- Older and vulnerable people should avoid cruises.
They are not, for the time being, announcing any school closures or bans on public gatherings as they want these measures to have the maximum effect at the right time.
However, pressure appears to be growing to do more, and more organisations are advising their staff not to attend conferences.
In the light of all this, the Board has come to the view that there remains no alternative other than to postpone the conference scheduled for next week.
We will be in touch again once we have had an opportunity to explore options.
2020 Conference SOLD OUT!
2020 Annual Conference & AGM
18th and 19th March 2020
The Hilton Warwick Hotel, Warwickshire
The 2020 CONFERENCE has now completely sold out.
This year’s event is set to be our biggest and best yet. We have an Amazing and Very Exciting Programme Planned that is Very Relevant to YOU and your Organisation, spearheaded by the dynamic Joe Saxton (nfpSynergy), together with the Internationally acclaimed Award -Winning Author and Professional Speaker David Hyner plus much, much more – but places are limited..........
Interactive workshops that will benefit those working for charities, hospices, sporting bodies, air ambulance services and Local Authorities alike. The aim of the conference is not only to bring you up to date with Lottery legislation and regulations, but also to share with you ideas for the growth and development of your lottery. Additionally, it is a fantastic opportunity to network with other organisations within the sector. We understand that times are difficult and often frustrating and that it is why it is important that the time spent away from the office is filled with information, ideas and strategies that will help to motivate for the coming year. We have listened to you the members at the Regional Forums and the conference has been tailored to the needs and requests of our membership.
So please participate fully and help to make this a valuable experience for everyone.
Gambling Commission Ban On Use of Credit Cards
Further to our recent circular on the forthcoming restrictions being imposed by The Gambling Commission and the acceptance of credit card usage within our sector, several members have contacted us looking for further clarity with regards to how it affects their operation and what ‘exceptions’ may apply to this legislation. The Gambling Commission have banned the use of credit cards for all gambling with the only exception of non-remote lottery transactions.
Basically, what it means, is that, as from 14th April 2020, NO-ONE can ACCEPT Credit Card Transactions by telephone or online for ANY ACTIVITY conducted under the legislation covered by your Gambling Commission Licence.
Lottery Operators can continue to accept payments by credit cards if the transaction is not classed as remote – e.g. in person or by post.
The Good News however, is that this change in the regulations does NOT APPLY to DEBIT CARD Transactions (which virtually Everyone with a credit card has also), so hopefully this will have minimal impact – if any – upon your operation.
Out Top Legal Experts (Andrew and Sarah from Woods Whur) will be at our forthcoming Conference on 18th & 19th March along with several ‘familiar and helpful faces’ from The Gambling Commission this year, so please do come along and put any questions / comments to them that you may have - I believe that there are still just a few places remaining before the ‘Sold Out’ signs are put up again for 2020 – and ensure that ‘Your Voice’ is heard and that your operations remains fully compliant within the legislation of your Gambling Commission Licence.
Gambling Commission announcement 14th January 2020 on credit cards - Details for the Lotteries Sector
The Gambling Commission has today announced the outcome of the consultation into the use of credit cards in gambling, including lotteries.
While we won the argument about non-remote lotteries, for which credit cards can continue to be accepted, the Commission have chosen to ignore the argument that banning the use of credit cards for remote lotteries was excessive in view of the low level of risk involved. From 14 April 2020, therefore, all operators of remote lotteries will not be able to accept payment by credit card, including payments by credit card through PayPal and other e-wallet providers.
Further details can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/News/gambling-on-credit-cards-to-be-banned-from-april-2020.
The Commission have stated: “We acknowledge the consultation responses from the lotteries sector which generally argued that subscription and lower frequency lotteries do not have the same potential rates of loss as other forms of gambling, and that society lotteries are associated with lower incidences of harm.
However, our key concern is that gambling with a credit card can facilitate high levels of gambling debt, and for people at risk of harm this could be a cumulative gambling debt across a number of operators and types of gambling. We note from our research that those who use credit cards for online gambling tend to be highly engaged gamblers who gamble on several different activities - and that while online betting and gaming are the most prevalent forms of gambling activity for them, they are more likely to participate in a full range of gambling opportunities including gaming machines and online lottery participation. Therefore, individuals who are at the greatest risk of harm from credit card gambling may be using their cards across multiple gambling platforms – and accruing more debt than they can afford to repay – across a range of operators and products including lotteries.
In order to minimise the risks of harm to those credit cards gamblers and their families, we have therefore decided to include remote lotteries as part of the ban on credit cards alongside other forms of gambling.”
The ban on accepting credit card payments for gambling, including remote payments for lottery participation, will come into effect three months from today, on 14 April. This means that remote society lottery, ancillary lottery and remote ELM licensees will not be able to accept credit card payments – e.g. where payments are made online or via telephone – from this date.
One means of preventing credit card payments is for operators – or their payment processors or acquiring bank – to identify credit cards via the card’s Issuer Identification Number (the IIN, which is the first 6 to 9 digits of the number across the front of a card and which allows the merchant or acquirer to identity whether a card is credit, debit or pre-paid, and to identify the issuing bank). The payment processor or acquirer, on the operator’s (merchant’s) request, could then ensure that any card identified as a credit card is prevented from moving through the payment gateway. Some operators may be able to put this system into effect at their end of the payment gateway without the need to ask their processor/acquirer. However, where this is not the case, we would suggest that societies contact their payment processor or their acquiring bank to understand how they could prevent credit card payments.
The ban will also apply to credit card payments made through e-wallets. The Commission has been advised that that the major wallet providers such as PayPal will be able to put measures into effect to prevent credit card payments for gambling. Operators will be responsible for only accepting payments through an e-wallet where the operator can be assured by the wallet provider that it can prevent gambling payments by credit card. We therefore suggest that members also contact any e-wallet providers whose wallets they make available to their customers for online lottery ticket purchases, to ensure they understand how the wallet provider intends to proceed.
The Commission have clarified their announcement about GAMSTOP. All operators of online instant win lotteries must participate in the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme. Further details can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2020/Online-operators-required-to-participate-in-multi-operator-self-exclusion-scheme-GAMSTOP-from-March.aspx.