Remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS)
1 - Introduction
1.1 This document sets out remote gambling and software technical standards issued by the Gambling Commission (the Commission) under section 89 and section 97 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) (the Act).
1.2 This document replaces the Remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) published in June 2017.
1.3 The RTS is drafted in a format that sets out the key principles, without being overly prescriptive as to how these must be met. The general makeup and format of each requirement is structured as follows:
- the aim - describing what the Commission is seeking to achieve
- the requirement - which sets out specific requirements to meet the aim, and
- implementation guidance - providing guidance as to how the requirement should be complied with, without exhaustively describing all possible solutions. Licensees may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in the guidance provided they can meet the requirement in full and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable and similarly effective in the particular circumstances.
Changes to the standards
1.4 This updated RTS document includes changes to the following provisions that were consulted on as part of the Commission’s consultation: online slots game design and reverse withdrawals (opens in new tab) in July 2020.
- RTS 2 – Displaying transactions
- RTS 8 – Auto-play functionality
- RTS 13 – Time requirements and reality checks
- RTS 14 – Responsible product design.
Testing and audit requirements
1.5 The Commission’s Testing strategy for compliance with the remote gambling and software technical standards (PDF) (testing strategy) sets out the Commission’s current requirements for the timing and procedures for testing. Compliance with the RTS and testing strategy is a licence condition1.
1.6 Importantly the testing strategy sets out the circumstances in which independent third party testing is required. The relevant standards are given in chapter 3 - Remote gambling and software technical standards and chapter 4 - security requirements.
1.7 The testing strategy and accompanying security audit advice (opens in new tab) also sets out the independent audit requirements that licence holders should fulfil. This is based on the relevant sections of ISO/IEC 27001: 2013, which are summarised in chapter 4 - security requirements.
1.8 Licensees that are responsible for procuring games testing will also need to submit a Games testing annual audit. Further details are provided in the testing strategy.
RTS summary table
1.9 For ease of reference, annex A lists all technical standards and their applicability to different gambling products. The summary should be treated as a high-level overview and be considered in conjunction with the relevant sections of the RTS.
Remote bingo and ancillary licences
1.10 The following standards apply to holders of remote bingo licences when making facilities available by means of remote communication in respect of games of bingo played on more than one set of premises:
1.11 Where bingo is offered across multiple premises the entity that holds the full remote operating licence will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the RTS. However, we would expect the ancillary licence holder (or individual premises) to have received sufficient assurance that the content offered via remote terminals is compliant with the relevant standards, as listed previously. Ancillary licence holders will still be required to comply with the bingo equipment specifications - Licence condition 2.3.2.
Remote lottery and ancillary licences
1.12 The Commission has adopted a risk based approach to lotteries – exempting from the technical standards lotteries offered under an ancillary remote licence2 . Subscription lotteries, those products where customer spend is often controlled, are exempt from some aspects of the RTS (for example, RTS 12). The technical standards are primarily aimed at high frequency products offered under a full remote lottery licence, that enable consumers to participate in multiple draws in a relatively short space of time. These products present similar risks as instant lotteries (see definition of terms) and will need to adhere to the relevant technical standards.
1.13 In the case of gambling software, these technical standards only apply to manufacture, supply, installation or adaptation of software for use in connection with remote gambling which takes place in reliance on an operating licence issued by the Commission.
1Licence condition 2.3.1
in Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).
2 The ancillary remote licence is only suitable for holders of a non-remote society lottery operating licence who want to accept payment for participation in a lottery by remote means, up to a maximum of £250,000 in remote proceeds per annum. If you do not hold a non-remote society lottery operating licence and wish to take payments by remote means, you must hold a full remote licence. If you currently hold a non-remote and ancillary remote society lottery licence, but your remote proceeds are expected to exceed £250,000 per annum, a full remote society lottery operating licence will be required. Products offered under a non-remote society lottery operating licence and an ancillary remote licence must adhere to the relevant sections of the LCCP.
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2 - Definition of terms