UKGC Reveals VIP Players Prone to Problem Gambling
If you’ve played at US online casinos, you’re aware of VIP programs. These programs reward high-volume players with special rewards to continue playing at the casino. However, according to a recent study by the UK Gambling Commission, these players have an increased chance of becoming problem gamblers.
What the revelation of this data means remains to be seen. One potential outcome is that VIP programs could become a thing of the past, at least in the UK.
VIP Players Prone to Problem Gambling
A study by the UKGC examining the behavior of VIP gamblers at online casinos produced some amazing information. For starters, approximately £4 out of ever £5 earned by casinos is earned from VIP players.
VIP Players only represents around 2 percent of the number of players at online casinos. However, they generate around 83 percent of bets places. They also represent about 48 percent of all online casinos deposits made each year.
In the UK, there are around 47,000 VIP players. According to the study, approximately 8 percent of those players will qualify as problem gamblers. This is 11 times that of the average gambler.
UKGC Calling for Improved Interaction With VIP Players
The UKGC quickly called for changes in how UK online casinos handle their VIP players. They stated that “Operators must improve their interaction with VIPs and we have challenged the industry to make faster progress to improve how they manage their customers. We have also taken robust action against operators who fail to protect consumers and we will be even tougher if behavior does not change.”
What exactly does “improved interaction” mean? For starters, it means that rather than giving VIP players additional perks to continue playing and making online casino deposits, they need to watch out for signs of problem gambling.
When they spot players that have these signs, they need to offer them help or even take steps to reduce the damage they are doing to themselves. That may mean reducing the amount they are allowed to deposit or wager. It could result in having them removed from the VIP program altogether.
What Will Be the Future of VIP Programs in the UK?
For now, it is unknown what this study will lead to in the UK. The UKGC has taken drastic measures in the past to force online casinos into compliance. It is expected that they will do the same again if casinos do not take action.
VIP programs such as those offered at Casino Max, Slotto Cash, and Cafe Casino are used to reward high volume players. As the study pointed out, these programs are very important to the casinos, so this is an area where you can expect operators to look at immediately.
If the UKGC does not like the results they see, it is very likely that they could call for an end to VIP programs. Online casinos in the UK will then have to comply in order to stay licensed. Since many of the top online casinos operate in the UK, it is likely that the change will become the industry standard.
What will that mean for the average online casino player? At larger online casinos, you should not see much of an impact outside of a reduction in high limit slot game offerings. However, smaller online casinos could see a drastic impact on their business and some may be forced to scale back or even cease operations.
Problem gambling is a serious concern that needs to be addressed by online casino companies and we applaud the UKGC for taking a stand. However, we hope that they will give the industry ample time to come up with solutions rather than forcing a drastic change that could cause serious harm to the industry.