UKGC to Start Six-Month Trial of Controversial Affordability Checks

  • The UKGC has made changes to the parameters for conducting the checks
  • It plans to take an evidence-based approach to any of these changes
  • The BGC also announced its own voluntary consumer check rules
Person reading laptop image with magnifying glass
The UK Gambling Commission is starting a six-month trial period of controversial new affordability checks on gamblers. [Image:]

The latest plan

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is launching a six-month test period of controversial affordability checks on gamblers. It says it will abandon its plans if the pilot period isn’t frictionless for the vast majority of people who undergo checks. Many people have questioned the merits of these controls, with over 100,000 people signing a petition opposing them.

changed some of the specifics from when the government published its white paper

The regulator changed some of the specifics from when the government published its white paper on gambling legislation in April 2023. The original plan was to conduct an initial financial vulnerability assessment if a person registered a £125 ($156) net loss during a 30-day period or £500 ($624) in a single year.

The UKGC’s plan now is to assess users who make net deposits of at least £150 ($187) during a single month, without regard to an annual total.

Taking a careful approach

In arriving at its parameters, the UKGC consulted with key industry stakeholders. One of the outcomes of this research was that the regulator will no longer ask gambling operators to take into account a person’s occupation or postcode when making assessments of their financial vulnerability.

More advanced checks are necessary for people who hit more extreme thresholds. The original proposal was to carry out assessments if someone loses at least £1,000 ($1,249) in a 24-hour period or £2,000 ($2,498) in a 90-day stretch. The UKGC will reassess the exact thresholds for this second tier following the pilot test.

UKGC Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes spoke about the importance of ensuring that any alterations are “based on evidence and takes into account the views of consumers and other interested parties.” He said that the regulator made changes already based on feedback and hopes to find a balance between player protection and not inhibiting the freedom of adults.

BGC introducing its own standards

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the industry body for gambling operators in the UK, announced its new voluntary industry code on consumer checks on Wednesday. The BGC developed these guidelines in collaboration with the government and UKGC, with the plan being to use these new thresholds until the UKGC fully develops, tests, and implements its own parameters.

The code outlines what steps an operator has to take when customers hit a net deposit of more than £5,000 ($6,245) over a rolling month (dropping to £2,500 ($3,122) for 18 to 24-year-olds) or £25,000 ($31,226) in a 12-month period. Only those in the latter category will potentially have to supply financial documentation to prove they can afford their level of expenditure.

will need to carry out a risk assessment in both cases

Operators will need to carry out a risk assessment in both cases to ensure that the person isn’t subjecting themselves to financial harm. The BGC believes this approach will help prevent intrusive document checks.

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