UKGC vs Racing Post - The Debate on Financial Risk Checks

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The GB Gambling Commission (GC) has publicly addressed Racing Post readers, aiming to rectify misconceptions surrounding the ongoing consultation on proposed financial risk checks.

This move comes after the GC accused Racing Post, a prominent racing and sports betting publication, of delivering "imbalanced stories" to its readers. The tension escalated when the newspaper declined to publish a response letter from the Commission.

Affordability Checks Debate Heats Up

Financial risk checks, often referred to as affordability checks, have been a hot topic since the introduction of the Gambling Act review white paper in April. The debate has intensified, with both sides presenting their arguments.

Racing Post editor Tom Kerr responded to the GC's open letter through a statement on X (previously known as Twitter). He clarified the newspaper's stance, stating:

We informed the GC of our reluctance to publish a letter that portrayed disagreements over our coverage as factual inaccuracies.

Tom KerrRacing Post Editor

Kerr emphasized that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission's (UKGC) letter reiterated points from the white paper without addressing the concerns of Racing Post's readership and contributors. He further accused the letter of dismissing these concerns as baseless.

At the heart of this debate are the credit checks. The GC's open letter refuted the notion that a significant number of gamblers would need to submit personal financial documents like payslips or bank statements to place bets. They clarified that a mere 0.3% of account holders might be asked for additional financial information.

Moreover, approximately 90% of these financial risk assessments would be conducted through credit reference agencies and open-source banking. The GC also highlighted that these proposals are strictly for online gambling and won't affect offline betting avenues.

A common misconception is the potential impact of these checks on credit scores. The GC assured that these soft credit checks would not influence credit ratings.

UKGC CEO Tackles Misinformation

Andrew Rhodes, the CEO of the Commission, recently commented on the overwhelming response to the affordability checks in the Gambling Act review consultations. He expressed concerns over the spread of "misinformation" in media outlets and on social platforms. To combat this, the Commission has released a Q&A section on its website to guide and inform during the consultation phase.

Rhodes also voiced his concerns last month about the "misuse of gambling statistics" to drive specific political agendas.

The core of the GC's proposals revolves around "frictionless financial risk assessments" for an estimated 3% of gambling accounts. Another significant proposal suggests light-touch financial vulnerability checks using publicly available data for 20% of accounts.

In conclusion, as the debate rages on, it's evident that both the GC and Racing Post are staunch in their positions. The coming weeks will determine the direction of these proposed risk checks and their implications for the gambling community.