UK gambling operators are likely to face increasing scrutiny over their use of VIP programs, according to reports in the UK media.

On Friday, the Guardian newspaper reported that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is looking into the possibility of outlawing VIP schemes following the findings of a new report.

The news comes at the same time as the new UK government is planning a review of the existing UK gambling legislation. And it provides serious concerns for those firms who rely on reward and VIP programmes, which provide free bets, perks and other promotions for regular customers.

Reports suggest that the UKGC has found that VIP status was a major factor in 70% of the regulatory fines handed out for breaches of problem gambling rules. The Guardian also suggests that those customers who earn VIP status are more likely than not to be problem gamblers.

The UKGC has not provided any firm statement on the issue, but it admitted that it was looking into addressing bad practice in this area of gambling operations:

“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 behaviour does not change.”

According to reports, nine betting companies were involved in providing information for the UKGC report, including some of the most high-profile operators in the UK.

In response, the chairperson of the Betting and Gaming Council, Brigid Simmons, said that the industry was aware of the need to improve their practices around VIP programmes. She added that they would soon be releasing a new code of conduct and would be working to ensure that they prioritised the wellbeing of their customers.

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