The GB Gambling Commission has published new guidance for its licensees in response to growing concerns about the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the British gambling market.
The Commission said it is following Public Health England guidance and told all staff to work from home until further notice, and has encouraged operators to adopt a similar approach.
However, the regulator also said that where facilities for gambling are being offered, licensees must ensure they have sufficient management, staffing and oversight in place to maintain compliance with licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).
The Commission also said that licensees should assess their ability to maintain compliance with the LCCP and consider voluntary partial or full suspension of their services if they cannot meet these standards and requirements.
Focusing on online operators, the Commission said that due to social distancing measures, more people will be working from home. As such, online operators must ensure they continue to act responsibly in regards to individual customer affordability and increased social responsibility interactions.
“We realise that the unprecedented changes to daily life, and in some cases, financial uncertainty, will create challenges for your business,” the Commission said. “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.
In terms of licence and other fees, the Commission said that due to the way its fee system is structured, it does not have the ability to reduce fees, nor can it fast track any licence applications.
Expanding on the temporary licence application it has put in place, the regulator said all submissions will be handled by staff working from home. As such, it said all company related documentation should be scanned and sent via email to the operators designated account manager.
“Applications are a priority for licensing and although our teams are working from home, we have set up steps and processes to ensure we can proceeds with applications should anyone fall ill or become unable to work,” the regulator said.
“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.”