February 27, 2024 3 min read


Debate on Proposed Affordability Checks in the UK Intensifies

Despite a heated discussion on Monday, the gambling minister in the UK, Stuart Andrew, reaffirmed the government's plans for going through with affordability checks

Several years ago, the UK government announced the launch of a review of its Gambling Act 2005, the main law that regulates gambling activities in an effort to make it more suitable for the digital age. After many delays, the Gambling Act white paper was released in April 2023, marking the start of important reforms that seek to ensure the protection of customers and reduce gambling harm.

One of the most controversial parts of the proposed changes to the sector involves affordability checks. With the proposed affordability checks, the country seeks to prevent people from overspending by engaging in checks once gamblers reach a specific threshold. Proposed as unintrusive affordability checks, the changes seek to better protect people from gambling harm while helping fight financial crimes.

Yet, ever since talks started about the proposed affordability checks, the industry pushed back, warning that such intrusive interactions may push some consumers to the black market. The debate continued to intensify with a meeting of MPs on Monday. MPs representing constituencies where horse racing courses are present joined in opposition to the proposed affordability checks. They warned that such actions may significantly damage the racing vertical, while at the same time, strengthening the position of illegal gambling operators.

Moreover, MPs in opposition to the affordability checks reiterated that the black market doesn’t offer any player protections, adding that a low threshold for affordability checks may drive consumers to the illegal industry. This puts at risk not only the racing industry as a whole, but the consumers as well, warned opponents of the proposed measure.

Lawmakers Remain Committed to Implementing Affordability Checks

The latest debate follows a petition that required the UK lawmakers to discuss the proposal. The aforementioned petition enjoyed overwhelming support after gathering 100,000 signatures in less than a month to put up the proposed affordability checks for debate.

I am therefore clear that we must ensure that the checks do not adversely affect racing or those who work in the sector, or interrupt the customer journey. They also must not push away high-net-worth individuals such as owners and trainers that invest in the sport.

Stuart Andrew, gambling minister in the UK

Despite the concerns, UK gambling minister Stuart Andrew reaffirmed the government’s intentions to proceed with the proposed affordability changes. Acknowledging concerns of the racing sector, he said the government needs to ensure the proposed changes do not impact the racing industry or the people who are currently employed by the industry.

Andrew spoke about the importance of robust efforts that protect problem gamblers and vulnerable people while ensuring channelization to the legal industry. At the same time, the gambling minister said that it is imperative that the new rules do not impact investments in sports and racing.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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