The UK to push forward with affordability checks at £150

The UK to push forward with affordability checks at £150

The UK to push forward with affordability checks at £150
The apple of discord in the British gambling industry has been the introduction of the so-called affordability checks. Yet, the government has not hesitated and taken a succulent bite out of it, confirming that the White Paper Review and re-regulation of the industry will indeed include those contentious measures. Now, the government has also further detailed that its consultations on affordability checks launched late last year will indeed be implemented as a crucial part of the gambling journey for customers and operators. The checks will be set at £150 which, if anything, is slightly higher than the originally intended checks of £125. The government is also calling these “light touch” checks, trying to balance between consumer needs and business sustainability. The idea behind these checks is to obligate operators to trigger a check which only sees the operator carry out research based on the information in the public domain. In other words, once £150 has been spent, operators will have to check debt registries and other publicly available information to determine if their customer can continue playing. These checks are meant to be non-invasive and non-disruptive for players, but they won’t be the only ones being introduced. A pilot will launch in August this year, with the checks first set at £500 and then reduced to the decided-upon amount in February next year. This is good news for the industry and consumers who have been fretting over a more invasive sort of checks. The government has promised that any comprehensive check would be indeed frictionless – a notion that has been dismissed as fantasy by the industry, as the technology doesn’t exist in the opinion of many companies. Yet, Casino Guru News has spoken with several payment providers as part of our In-depth section, who have assured us that onboarding customers without bogging them down in checks while ensuring AML and KYC compliance is quite feasible. In any eventuality, the UKGC and the government want to tread lightly on the matter, and they have decided to launch a six-month trial that will explore the more demanding types of checks. Commenting on the opportunity to strengthen consumer safety in the United Kingdom, Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive & Commissioner at the UKGC, has welcomed the developments on a cheerful note. “We are also pleased to be taking forward a pilot of financial risk assessments and data collection, which together will ensure that we can make informed decisions about how these assessments can be implemented in a way that supports both consumer freedom and protections,” Rhodes noted, commenting on the plans to consider the more serious checks with caution. Rhodes acknowledges that there ought to be a balance between business needs and consumer protection, but also added that the UKGC would, for its part, always stew towards protecting customers first. Meanwhile, Tim Miller, UKGC’s Executive Director, has said that the focus was indeed to make checks frictionless. Customers would not be required to upload any KYC and AML documents to comply. Yet, Miller acknowledged that should “frictionless” prove unsustainable or difficult in the long term, it will be back to the drawing board for the regulator. One way or the other, extensive checks will have to happen to meet the government’s commitment to consumers.

02 MAY 2024

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