Recent reports claim that British gamblers will become subject to local bookmakers’ credit checks aimed at proving they can actually afford to place bets under some legislation changes seeking to prevent vulnerable people from losing big on gambling.
Rumour has it that the move is set to be officially announced later in April as part of the long-awaited Government’s White Paper on gambling. It would also follow a record £19.2-million fine that was imposed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on William Hill for allowing customers to spend massive amounts of money without previously checking on their financial state.
As Casino Guardian previously reported, campaigners have urged the Government to impose further restrictions on gambling advertising and sponsorship deals. However, market experts have noted that some of the toughest measures are expected to be diluted as a result of fierce lobbying efforts on the industry’s part.
Although there have been reports that so-called affordability checks were likely to be adopted as part of the UK Government’s gambling reform, the authorities are still expected to provide more details on the situation. According to reports, automatic background checks on punters spending moderate sums are set to be adopted, with the checks themselves taking only a few seconds. As part of the affordability checks, various indicators of financial vulnerability could be taken into account. If the checks indicate some risks for the players, gambling operators will be expected to take appropriate actions after further consultation on the matter.
Further Restrictions Could Push Gamblers Away from Licensed Gambling Sector, Operators Claim
When it comes to players placing higher bets, gambling companies are likely to be required to carry out enhanced affordability checks, analysing more risk factors in order to make sure that players have the necessary financial stability to proceed with their gambling activities.
Previously, the industry and the trade body representing the legal gambling sector in the UK – the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) – have noted that the implementation of further restrictions, including the proposed affordability checks, could be considered too intrusive by various players. According to the commercial body representing the local gambling industry, the measures could have the exact opposite effect as problem gamblers could be pushed away from licensed online gambling platforms to other sites that operate without the necessary permits and without paying the taxes gambling companies are supposed to pay to the Government.
According to reports, the risks of problem gamblers’ outflow to unlicensed online gambling platforms could result in the introduction of an industry-wide data sharing agreement. Such a move would provide the regulated gambling sector with information about players’ activity across all betting operators without making a compromise on the data privacy rights of local gamblers.
As Casino Guardian reported, some companies have already started to unveil measures seeking to protect vulnerable customers from potential harm associated with their gambling habits.