UK Gambling Commission CEO Addresses Financial Risk Checks

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Andrew Rhodes, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, has tried to clear up “misunderstandings” related to financial risk checks that arose since the start of consultations on the Gambling Act review white paper.

Speaking at the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (CMS) Select Committee hearing about gambling regulation, Rhodes that concerns surrounding affordability checks had been prominent.

Rhodes has written a blog post on the Commission's official website addressing these concerns. In it, he voiced concerns about the “significant amount of misinformation” in consultation responses, media outlets, and social media platforms. He refuted the “key myth” that these checks might be a hindrance to individuals.

Andrew Rhodes in his role of UKGC CEO, explained that the regulator has proposed a “system of proportionate checks” focusing primarily on high-spending customers in order to reach areas where the repercussions of harm could be most severe.

Overview of the Proposed Checks

There are six weeks remaining of the consultation, and Rhodes aimed to improve responses through his clarifications, which were published in a question-and-answer format.

He explained that the proposals are designed to find the balance between the freedom of people to gamble and protecting the most vulnerable from problem gambling and related harms. He went on to repeat the main points, such as the “frictionless financial risk assessments for an estimated 3% of gambling accounts.”

These checks would take place primarily via a credit reference agency, with no impact on credit score. Only where there is no credit file and the customer chooses not to consent to share data via open banking would they be asked to provide other evidence of financial circumstances to allow risk to be considered? This means that only an estimated 0.3% of account holders would ever be asked to provide information such as payslips or bank statements.

Andrew RhodesCEO of UKGC

Unobtrusive Vulnerability Checks

One of the UKGC’s proposals is for unobtrusive vulnerability checks that make use of publicly available data. It is thought that these checks would be carried out on 20% of accounts.

Related: New UKGC Guidance Focuses on High Risk Gamblers

Rhodes explained that they are not proposing “any blanket rules about what action must be taken following a check”. Rather, any information that arises from the checks should be considered together with “any other indicators of harm that might be present”.

Rhodes said that at least 80% of risk assessments are to be carried out by credit reference agencies and that the aim of the proposals is to create “frictionless systems”.

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