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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published strict new guidance for operators in order to clean up the malpractices in VIP customer management.

The Commission identified VIP schemes as an area for change and challenged the industry to clean up its act earlier this year, pushing them to work together to address the issue through an industry code of conduct.

Following an extensive consultation, all operators will now need to follow new guidance on these schemes which see “high value” consumers provided with tailored bonuses, gifts, hospitality and preferential service from an operator designed to maintain or increase their custom.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of UKGC, said: “We have introduced these new rules to stamp out malpractice in the management of ‘VIP’ customers and to make gambling safer. Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.

“We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70% since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year. Whilst that is a sign of the positive impact our innovative approach to collaborative working can have, these new rules are designed to ensure progress continues to be made to protect vulnerable customers.

“Operators can be in no doubt about our expectations. If significant improvements are not made, we will have no choice but to take further action and ban such schemes. These new rules are part of the Commission’s comprehensive programme of tougher enforcement and compliance activity which has also seen the introduction strengthened protections around online age and ID verification, improved customer interaction practices, and the banning of gambling on credit cards.”

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