February 21, 2023 3 min read


UKGC Will Not Impose Mandatory Checks, Operators Will

The Commission insists on not enforcing affordability checks yet operators would have no other option but to implement them

As all gambling industry eyes are on the upcoming White Paper, operators in the UK will most likely have to implement affordability checks for their customers, despite UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)’s CEO Andrew Rhodes claiming otherwise.

Mandatory or Not, They Are Coming

Rhodes, who took the reins at the country’s gambling regulator last year, spoke in an interview with Racing TV and reiterated the Gambling Commission’s position that the watchdog would not enforce operators to impose affordability checks on their players.

And while his words confirmed what he had said about affordability checks in his keynote speech at ICE 2023, he maintained the Commission’s approach of not setting clear-cut requirements or spending thresholds, yet being vocal that operators should not allow their customers to spend beyond their means.

Instead of setting specific requirements, the Commission is focusing on the extreme cases where individuals spend way beyond their means and Rhodes affirmed that this risk is still present for certain groups of people.

“The reality is, there are risks that are present in the industry now that need to be addressed and that is what we have been focused on,” Rhode stated, referring to that “range of customers that are experiencing harm or are likely to, clarifying that “it is the source of the extreme cases that we have been drawing attention to in the last two years.”

This lack of clarity on the subject and the expectations that affordability checks in some shape or form would be part of the upcoming reform with the White Paper creates confusion among operators who want to maintain compliance with problem gambling risk but to achieve that, they will need additional information from their customers.

To avoid asking their players for additional information, operators could simply place a spending limit for all – and William Hill already did exactly that as the Racing Post reported that the bookmaker had implemented a £500 ($605) spending limit on next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Gambling in Its ‘Totality’

Asked about specific data, Rhodes outlined that the problem gambling rate in the UK, a country where 22.5 million people gamble on a regular basis, is between 0.3% and 0.5%, or 700,000 people. He then moved to differentiate at-risk rates according to the different types of gambling, with online having the highest of all of a little under 10%.

On the question of why horse racing is not treated separately from other, more risky forms of gambling, Rhodes stated that a gambler’s activities must be considered in their “totality” as those experiencing gambling harm are likely to gamble on multiple verticals.

He added that since the majority of people are gambling safely, it would be unwise for operators to implement separate wallets for the different verticals and in practice, disaggregate themselves.

Lead Author

With 4 years experience as an analyst, Julie—or ‘Jewels’, as we aptly refer to her in the office—is nothing short of a marvel-worthy in her attention to the forex and cryptocurrency space as she quickly became the first pick to co-pilot education to the masses with Mike.

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