UK Government: Gambling Commission affordability checks must harmonise with gambling review

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    UK Government: Gambling Commission affordability checks must harmonise with gambling review

    The UK Government has said that any new affordability checks from the Gambling Commission must harmonise with the ongoing review of UK gambling legislation.

    Gambling Commission proposals for affordability checks is one of several issues currently being evaluated in the government review of the Gambling Act 2005, which was launched in December 2020.

    A consultation from the body on remote customer interaction — which closed in February — included a proposal that a monthly net gambling loss of as little as £100 ($138) would mean bettors would have to prove their income to be able to continue to bet.

    But the proposal caused much concern for the British racing industry, with its leaders warning that the sport would lose at least £60m a year from lost levy and media rights if customers were discouraged to gamble due to intrusive financial questions. 

    Minister for gambling and lotteries John Whittingdale told the Commons: “We are looking at whether further controls for play online would be effective in preventing gambling harm, including whether greater controls are needed at an account or product level.

    “We are also working closely with the Gambling Commission on its parallel work to improve how operators interact with customers and we will ensure that any new checks that they introduce to increase protections for those who are financially vulnerable, binge gambling or losing significant amounts over time harmonise with the aims of our own review.”

    Whittingdale was speaking at an adjournment debate brought by Scott Benton, Conservative MP for Blackpool South and Chair of the all-party parliamentary group for betting and gaming.

    Benton noted that there was no evidence to suggest that the “deeply flawed concept” of affordability checks would reduce problem gambling, only gambling overall.