Society lotteries are now affected by changes to their licence conditions, effective from 8 May, which tighten up their social responsibility obligations

On 8 May the amended Licence conditions and Code of Practice (LCCP) came into force introducing new social responsibility provisions to gambling, including in respect of society lotteries. This follows a review launched by the Gambling Commission in August 2014, on improving the social responsibility provisions in the LCCP which apply to licenced gambling operators.

A number of the changes automatically amend the conditions which apply to the operating licences held by society lotteries. It is important that society lotteries are aware of the changes and update their systems accordingly to ensure that they remain within their licence conditions.

Overview of the key changes

We have highlighted below some of the significant changes, identifying the type of provision and their status.

Licence Conditions (LC) - compliance with these provisions is a condition of the licence.
Social Responsibility Code Provision (SR) – compliance with these provisions is a condition of licences. Any breach may lead to a review of the operator's licence, which in turn may lead to suspension, revocation of financial penalty.
Ordinary Code Provision (OC) – these do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice.

Fair and open terms:

  • Customers must be notified of material changes to terms before they come into effect. (LC)
  • The LCCP will cross refer to the requirements under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 when it comes into force. (LC)

Education:

  • Licensees must make an annual financial contribution to one or more organisations which research into prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm, develop harm prevention approached and identify and fund treatment to those harmed by gambling. (SR)

Children:

  • It must be clear in the terms and conditions that those under 16 are not permitted to participate and prizes will not be paid out. Customers must be required to verify their age before being able to make any subscription or purchase entry into the lottery. The operator is expected to conduct random checks of users who self-verify age. (SR)
  • Where the lottery is more likely to attract underage players (eg the prizes are likely to appeal to children) operators should ensure that the age verification measures are appropriate to the risk of attempted underage play. (OC)

Customer interaction:

  • Licensees must set upper limits for the sale of lottery tickets to a person and undertake and record interactions where customers seek to exceed the limit. Records should be kept for at least three years and should be available to the Commission on request. (OC)

Changes to the self-exclusion process:

  • The minimum self-exclusion period should be not less than 6 months nor more than 12 months. Customers can request to extend one or more periods for at least 6 months each. Marketing material should not be sent to the customer during the self-exclusion period. There should be a positive action in order to gamble again and a 24 hour cooling off period offered for at least 6 months following the end of a self-exclusion period. (OC)
  • Policies and procedures should guard against self-excluded individuals attempting to breach their agreement by getting another person to gamble on their behalf. (OC)

Local Risk Assessment:

  • Licensees must assess – and have policies, procedures and control measure to mitigate – local risks to the licensing objectives, taking account of the licensing authority’s statement of licensing policy. (SR)
  • Local risk assessments must be reviewed when there are significant changes in local circumstances or at the premises, or when applying for a new licence of variation of a licence. (SR)

What next?

Society lotteries will need to re-align their business strategies and take the appropriate steps to comply with the revised LCCP.

The provisions in the LCCP are not static and the Gambling Commission has said that it will “continue to develop and mould the provisions to drive and support the industry in its pursuit of the licensing objectives and ensue that the less responsible and outright illegal are deterred and cannot prosper”.

In other words…. watch this space, there is more change to come!

 


Posted on 27/05/2015 in Legal Updates

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