Home » UK gambling financial vulnerability checks to begin in August

UK gambling financial vulnerability checks to begin in August

The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that light-touch financial vulnerability checks will come into force in two stages from August this year.

From August 30 this year, the checks will come into force for online gambling customers with a net deposit of more than £500 per month on gambling, before reducing to £150 per month from February next year.

One of the more divisive elements of the UK’s white paper on gambling reform, debate has swirled for months about the potential impact of checks.

The checks, the UK regulator said, will only use publicly available data and – as a result of feedback from the consultation on the proposals – will not require gambling operators to consider an individual’s personal details such as postcode or job title.

The Betting and Gaming Council, meanwhile, has introduced a new voluntary Industry Code on Customer Checks which aims to reduce the need for requests for private financial documents.

As well as light-touch checks, the Gambling Commission – which is leading the implementation of many of the white paper proposals on behalf of the UK government – confirmed again that a pilot of enhanced frictionless financial risk assessments will take place.

The pilot, which is expected to last six months and will not take place in a live environment, will see the Gambling Commission work with credit reference agencies and gambling operators to assess potential customer impact.

The Commission said that through data collection, it will also explore the “exact financial thresholds” the assessments would be conducted at.

It said following the pilot, the Commission will decide whether “permanent rules” will come into force, adding that this will “not be done until the data-sharing is frictionless for the vast majority of customers who are checked.”

Elsewhere, the Gambling Commission has revealed policy changes on reducing the intensity of igaming products, improving customer choice over receiving gambling marketing and tightening processes to support age verification in premises.

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said the regulator “made changes” to the white paper proposals after listening to consultation feedback on the issues. But he said the reworked proposals will still “deliver meaningful protections.”

“We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm,” Rhodes added.

Elsewhere in the latest white paper consultation responses, new rules on igaming products, coming into force on January 17 next year, will ban features which speed up the time for a result to be shown, or that can give the illusion of control such as ‘turbo’ or ‘slam stops.’

The Commission will mandate that Autoplay features are banned and that audio or visual celebrations of returns less than or equal to the stake are removed.

Operator-led functionality which facilitates playing multiple simultaneous products such as roulette and blackjack tables will also be banned alongside casino games spin speeds of less than five seconds – excluding peer-to-peer poker.

In the land-based sector, new code of good practice updates set to come into force on August 30 will mean that land-based licensees should have procedures that require staff to check the age of any customer who appears to be under 25, as opposed to under 21.

The Gambling Commission will furthermore tighten rules around online gambling marketing from January 17 next year.

Gambling operators will need to provide customers with options to opt-in to the product type they are interested in receiving and the channels through which they wish to receive marketing.

“The aim is to empower customers by giving them more control over the direct gambling marketing they wish to receive and ensure they do not receive marketing that they do not want,” the regulator said.

The final change announced by the Gambling Commission following the summer 2023 consultations means that the Commission has clarified and extended the operator staff management roles expected to hold a personal management licence.

These new and amended provisions come into force on 30 November.