Daniel Williams

UK Gambling Sector Could Be Forced to Check Customers’ Affordability Twice a Year Under New Regulatory Proposals

British punters could face legislative changes that require them to become subject to affordability checks every six months. The proposed rule has been unveiled as part of the proposals that have been part of public consultation by the UK gambling regulator in the middle of the week and has been triggered by the Government’s White Paper on gambling published in April 2023.

As part of the latest proposals published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), every customer who loses at least £1,000 within 24 hours or £2,000 within a 90-day period could be forced to face an enhanced source-of-funds and affordability check as often as twice a year. The thresholds for the checks, however, will be lower for individuals under 25 years of age – net losses of at least £500 within 24 hours, and £1,000 within 90 days.

The UKGC further proposed to ignore any money won more than seven days ago for punters at the £1,000 threshold, and 90 days ago for those at the £2,000 threshold. The implementation of such a measure would basically mean that people who bet with the proceeds of a big win could still be required to prove they are able to afford to spend large sums on gambling, although they have previously generated a large profit.

The new measures were revealed on July 26th in a consultation document published by the UK Gambling Commission. The consultation forms part of the implementation of the proposed financial risk assessment checks that the UK Government have unveiled as one of the major measures in its much-delayed White Paper on gambling.

Lighter Affordability Checks to Be Carried Out on Smaller Losses Threshold

The aforementioned consultation seeks commentary from the gambling industry stakeholders and the wider public on proposals linked to the risk-check process. It is set to run for a total of 12 weeks.

The UKGC explained that the consultation on the White Paper’s proposals marks the first time when local bookmakers are expected to share their opinion on the stricter affordability checks that have sparked some controversy in the industry, as operators noted their customers may find them quite intrusive. As part of the affordability checks, gambling operators will be required to gather sensitive data associated with their customers’ income and expenditure data, credit performance, current financial state, etc. When possible, credit reference agencies are set to provide such data.

There will be lighter affordability checks, too. The UK gambling watchdog has shared that the first tier of checks will be triggered by net losses of at least £125 within a 30-day period or net losses of £500 and more in a year. It is planned to be carried out no more than once a year. Under the checks, local bookmakers would have to make an assessment of their customers’ financial vulnerability by taking into account various factors, such as their stated job title, the average salary in their postcode, etc.

The executive director of research at the UKGC, Tim Miller, noted that the consultations from the Government and the country’s gambling regulator offer local people and all interested parties the chance to have their say on the proposed changes aimed at protecting and empowering the local gambling industry’s customers. Mr Miller has explained that the consultations mark a key moment in turning the White Paper’s commitments into reality.

As Casino Guardian previously reported, proposed affordability checks have been the most controversial aspect of the UK Government’s proposals as a result of the gambling review. The British racing sector has already raised a red flag, saying that the introduction of the new measures would boost the pressure on the industry and, as a result, customers may be fended off to the unregulated black market.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Jerry Lewis