Date: 27.06.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

UKGC Affordability Checks Survey Reveals Public Opposition

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released the full results of a public survey on affordability checks, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Regulus Group and Dan Waugh.

Initially launched in 2021, the survey results were finally disclosed after a second request, having been previously withheld by the UKGC citing “no outstanding public interest.”

Survey Results and Public Reaction

The survey, involving 12,000 respondents, indicated significant opposition to the affordability checks, now termed ‘financial risk checks.’ Of the respondents, 42% stated they would refuse additional information requests from operators, and 22.5% said they would stop gambling with that operator. Only 14% were willing to comply with these checks.

Regarding comfort levels, 18% of respondents felt uncomfortable, while 48% were very uncomfortable with gambling firms requesting financial information.

Dan Waugh, commenting to the Racing Post, highlighted the UKGC’s reluctance to release the information, raising questions about the Commission’s commitment to genuinely considering public input. This skepticism is supported by previous concerns expressed by the Racing Post and other stakeholders about the feasibility and impact of affordability checks.

Historical Context and Industry Response

In September last year, the Racing Post, alongside the British Horseracing Authority and other partners, conducted its own survey on affordability checks. Tom Kerr, Editor of the Racing Post, emphasized the significant public backlash against the UKGC’s proposals, noting the influx of emails and messages from concerned readers.

The debate between the UKGC and the Racing Post escalated when UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes accused the publication of biased reporting. Despite this contention, the survey results have now brought the public’s discontent into the spotlight.

With the full consultation results now public, it remains to be seen if the UKGC will adjust its approach to financial risk assessments. A UKGC spokesperson assured that all feedback from the public and stakeholders was carefully considered in developing the new assessment approach.