After the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) consultation into affordability closed last week, it became clear that around 13,000 individuals have taken part, providing evidence and submissions.
The submissions received by the UK gambling regulatory body also include the assertion from one major think tank, which shared that affordability checks should be carried out in a way that would make them barely detectable from customers. Apart from that, the organisation explained that, wherever possible, these checks should be based on data which is already held by gambling operators.
Yesterday, the UKGC revealed that it is assessing the responses to the consultation but failed to provide a more specific timeline of the consultation outcomes’ announcement.
At the time, a spokesperson of the gambling watchdog revealed that the UKGC had received approximately 13,000 responses following its consultation and call for evidence and it would need some time to assess and consider the responses in order to make a decision about the next steps in the regulatory process.
Affordability checks have become a pretty controversial issue in the industry, after the critical responses of some racing industry leaders who warned that the implementation of stricter measures could result in losses of up to £100 million in levy and media rights for the sport every year.
The SMF Think Tank Says Checks Should Be Barely Detectable for Gambling Companies’ Customers
Previously, some safer gambling advocates called for tougher regulatory measures to be imposed on the sector, saying that gambling companies need to make sure their customers can afford to lose at least £100 a month.
Last week, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) shared its concerns about the possible impact that the implementation of stricter affordability checks on online betting. The Association representing the racecourse and horsemen sector further noted that it feared stricter regulation could lead to infringement of individual privacy and liberty.
As mentioned above, the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank insisted on the implementation of a £100 threshold for monthly losses at which bookmakers are expected to investigate their consumer spending. The think tank also shared that the £100 cap should not be considered a hard limit on spending and such checks should be carried out by online gambling operators only.
Previously, the SMF has called for further restrictions to be imposed on the country’s gambling sector, saying that UK punters who do not pass strict affordability checks should be able to spend no more than £100 a month. The think tank also shared that gambling companies operating in the UK already hold significant amounts of data about their customers, so they can use this information to prevent gambling-related harm from being inflicted on them. According to the Social Marketing Foundation, the implementation of such measures would not harm customer freedom in any way.
The report presented by the think tank said that the so-called affordability checks should not be held as an intrusive process and should be based on the data which online gambling companies already have about their customers. Besides, the SMF also suggested that customer data should be shared with a newly-created gambling ombudsman who would be required to oversee the sector.