UKGC concerned with VIP gambling schemes

Documents unveiled by the British regulator, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), indicate many bookmakers operating in the country rely heavily on problem and high-spending VIP customers.

According to the data obtained by the watchdog, such bettors bring in £4 out of every £5 wagered with online gambling operators. They form a small percentage of their total customer base, however, they bring the bulk of deposits to bookmakers.

According to the source, one betting company got 83 per cent of its deposits from just two per cent of its patrons. Another got 58 per cent of its deposits from just five per cent of its customers, while another took in 48 per cent of its deposits from three per cent of its players.

Customers are usually invited into the schemes after parting with huge amounts of money. In turn, the gambling firms offer them VIP membership to motivate them to continue wagering.

The UKGC document suggests around 47,000 UK bettors participate in such loyalty schemes, with nearly one in ten of them are considered to have a gambling problem. This is roughly 11 times more than the average problem gambling rates among the general population.

“We have been taking action to address poor practice around the treatment of VIP customers for some time,” a spokesperson for the commission said.

A potential ban on VIP schemes is not the only change the new year might bring for the UK gambling industry. In November 2019, several Members of Parliament suggested that the maximum wager for online slots should be reduced to £2 per spin, similarly to the maximum bet limits imposed on the notorious fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Restrictions on loyalty programs were also recommended.

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