23.02.2024

by Antoni Majewski

Gambling Commission Unveils Pilot Scheme for Enhanced Affordability Checks

The Gambling Commission has outlined the next phase in affordability checks, including a pilot of the enhanced tier proposed by the government, responding to recent consultation feedback. This development precedes a pivotal parliamentary debate on the matter in Westminster Hall scheduled for Monday.

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Affordability Checks Update

The Gambling Commission’s executive director, Tim Miller, provided an update on the regulator’s approach to the proposed financial risk checks, revealing a two-tier system outlined in the government’s gambling white paper from the previous year.

At the lower tier, customers would undergo checks at a net spend of £125 over 30 days or £500 in a year. Notably, following consultation feedback, these checks will not initially require bookmakers to consider details like postcode or job title.

Miller mentioned that the checks would begin at a higher threshold temporarily before transitioning to a lower threshold later in the year to ensure smoother implementation for consumers.

Enhanced ‘Financial Risk’ Assessments

The second tier involves more detailed checks if a customer incurs a net loss of £1,000 in 24 hours or £2,000 within 90 days. These enhanced assessments aim for frictionless implementation for the majority of customers, with a pilot scheme running for approximately four to six months.

Operators will not be required to act on the data during the pilot, but they must maintain existing safety measures.

Industry Response and Pilot Period

In response to the announcement, the Betting and Gaming Council emphasized the importance of frictionless checks to swiftly address financial vulnerability. The spokesperson highlighted the need to balance player safety without unnecessary intrusion for responsible bettors.

The commission intends to gather data during the pilot to refine thresholds and definitions for implementation.

While the commission and betting operators are collaborating on an interim system of uniform checks, there was no mention of progress in the recent blog post. The industry awaits the government’s announcement on a new maximum £2 online slot stake for 18 to 24-year-olds, aligning with a £5 limit for those over 25, aiming to bring online stakes in line with casino regulations.

Further details will be outlined in the Gambling Commission’s full response document next month.

Conclusion

The Gambling Commission’s pilot scheme reflects a proactive approach to address concerns and refine affordability checks in the gambling industry.

As the debate unfolds in Westminster Hall, these measures demonstrate a commitment to balancing consumer protection with a seamless gaming experience.

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