January 31, 2023 3 min read


UK Gambling: Affordability Checks Under Fire Again

Affordability checks are becoming a popular but divisive example for what UK’s delayed gambling reforms might bring

Although this might seem like a good thing to most, the inadequacies of the UKGC in recent years have some horse racing aficionados worried that the reforms and their execution might negatively affect punters.

It’s just six weeks until the Cheltenham Festival, and some Racing Post articles are increasingly paying attention to UK’s long-awaited gambling reforms. Affordability checks are put under the spotlight again, and – according to Racing Post – they might bring more headaches than solutions, as trust in the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been steadily eroding recently.

According to a Racing Post opinion piece, affordability checks might cost British racing quite dearly. It agreed with UK’s gambling minister Paul Scully that it’s not for the government or the UKGC to tell adults how much of their money they are allowed to gamble away. That’s not how some operators react to the still-upcoming gambling reforms in the country, though.

Some had already started implementing affordability checks as a standard approach preemptively, guessing that the measure will be implemented soon anyway. The pressure for affordability checks has, according to Racing Post, been brewing for at least 12 months, so the recent implementation naturally caused heated discussions when it became official.

The actual concerns are very nuanced, though, with different sides fearing different setbacks. As it is with any good story, there are many angles to look at, and Racing Post has made it clear that – at least the author of the opinion piece, Lee Mottershead – supports adults having the right to pick their own budget allocation for gambling.

Complex Situations Call for Complex Measures

Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple, as not everyone is in the right state of mind when making such decisions. Problem gambling – like any other addiction – affects decision-making. It’s not news to anyone, then, that the problem is so complex, it cannot have a blanket solution for any of its facets. Affordability checks are one example of that.

While it might seem restrictive for the average punter, it could also help stop someone from ruining their lives by betting beyond their means. It’s not like the latter is not exemplified or is a theoretical possibility – people are suffering from the lack of regulatory updates in gambling throughout the UK, and some of the harm is caused by just that problem.

On the other side, however, Racing Post’s notion that players – and by extension, the industry – will suffer from receiving sporadic bans over botched affordability checks, is also somewhat valid. The fear that this potential problem can be exacerbated during increased betting activity, such as the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, is also very sensible, as big events draw a lot of punter attention.

So, it all boils down to how much confidence the UKGC inspires in people that it can do it right. And, given the history of how it got to where it is now, the odds are stacked against it. However, people’s health should always come first, as the only way gambling is sustainable, is if its potential harms are limited as much as it’s feasible to do so.


Kyamil is a big tech fan, who loves hummus on everything and has enjoyed writing from a young age. From essays, through personal art, to news pieces and more serious tech analysis. In recent years he’s found fintech and gambling collide with all his interests, so he truly shares our core passion for the entire gambling scene and furthering the education of the mass citizen on these topics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *