Britain to Publish Affordability Check Consultation

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) made an announcement today regarding their intention to release the initial four consultations featured in the Gambling Act review white paper, along with two additional projects.

After the white paper was published in April, there was significant public discussion surrounding the number of proposals put forward in these consultations. Observers noted that the terms “consult” or “consultation” appeared a total of 150 times throughout the document.

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British Gambling Participation 

Last week, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that four proposals will be made public this month. These include the following subjects:

  1. Age verification protocols in land based establishments.
  2. Design of online games.
  3. Direct marketing and cross-selling practices.
  4. Financial risk and vulnerability checks for online operators.

The financial risk checks, commonly known as affordability checks, have generated considerable controversy within the industry. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the leading trade body for UK gambling, has been critical of this particular measure. Concerns have been raised that stricter interpretations of these checks might deter gamblers by necessitating operators to request more detailed financial information than players are comfortable sharing.

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Additional Consultations by the UKGC

Consistent with previous consultation processes, Tim Miller, the Commission’s Executive Director for Research and Policy, stated that these discussions are anticipated to last for a period of 12 weeks, concluding in October. In addition to the consultations outlined in the white paper, the Gambling Commission will also initiate two more consultations this month. These encompass:

  • Regulations pertaining to personal management licences.
  • Procedures for regulatory panels.

The British gambling commission stated that the launch of these projects reinforces their commitment to adhering to consultation timelines as much as possible. Following their conclusion, the gambling regulator will be well underway in planning the subsequent series of consultations, scheduled for the autumn in Europe.

  • Promotion of Responsible Gambling
  • Implementation of Gambling Tools

As a result, the regulator anticipates engaging with significant stakeholders in the upcoming weeks for preliminary consultations. “The UK Gambling Commission’s work is, of course, concurrent with the efforts of the government and the voluntary commitments undertaken by the gambling industry to implement the Review,” Miller remarked.

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Collaboration with DCMS

The British gambling regulator reiterated its support for the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) in their respective endeavours, which will also involve active participation in the consultation process.

Nevertheless, the GC emphasised the importance of clearly defining roles and responsibilities. The example of the proposed statutory levy, a tax on the revenues of gambling operators intended to fund research, education, and treatment initiatives, was cited. For such measures, the government will take the lead in establishing the levy, including determining the allocation of funds. The Commission’s role will be to collect and distribute the tax in accordance with the government’s directives.

Miller also suggested that the implementation of the levy is likely to render the Commission’s LCCP RET list (the list of approved organisations where operators are obligated to make contributions) irrelevant. Additionally, the body will need to consider the impact of the tax on the allocation of future fines. “The complete implementation of the review will require several years, particularly when assessing the effects of any changes,” Miller stated. “Nevertheless, this does not mean we are not keen on advancing matters as swiftly as possible. We are committed to making progress expeditiously.”

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