Getting player protection and gaming affordability checks right
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Getting player protection and gaming affordability checks right

While the new UK Gambling Act white paper has been slow to appear with updated regulation on affordability in gaming, a full-blown cost-of-living crisis has accelerated in the United Kingdom, leaving responsible gaming operators to take the lead on affordability checks.  

The days of self-selected player deposits or loss thresholds as the only guide to gambling affordability may now be numbered, but the UK government is yet to put a cap on online gambling spending.  The frequently delayed government white paper intended to bring outdated regulation of player protection into the iGaming era is widely predicted to enforce affordability checks.

Cost-of-living and player affordability

While the gaming industry waits for affordability to be legally defined, a cost-of-living crisis has quickly spiralled upwards in the UK, with high food and fuel price inflation putting household incomes and the amount of money that people have available to spend firmly in focus.

The UK Gambling Commission advises gaming operators to set realistic affordability thresholds. These limits should be based on the average available income for customers, with the Commission calling on the industry to take living costs into account, distinguishing ‘disposable’ and ‘discretionary’ income, the latter being what’s left after necessities have been paid for.

Protect players from gambling beyond their means with affordability checks.

With over 90% of UK households reporting a cost-of-living increase this year and 45% of UK adults – around 23 million people – finding it difficult to keep up with household bills and credit commitments over the past few months, discretionary income is increasingly a zero-sum game for many.


“Protecting players online is the right call for socially responsible iGaming operators, even while industry regulation is on hold. Better player protection now will help operators build trust in the sector and create a safer environment for players.” 

 

The chances are that new regulation will require the iGaming industry to improve its understanding of how much each player can afford to gamble and take a step towards a ‘single player view’ of an individual’s gambling spend across all licensed operators.

But with times so tough and the stakes so high, can the industry afford to wait for legislation? Protecting players online is the right call for socially responsible iGaming operators, even while industry regulation is on hold. Better player protection now will help operators build trust in the sector and create a safer environment for players.   

Award-winning solutions for gaming operators helping to protect players.

What are affordability checks?

Affordability checks are designed to identify customers at risk of running into financial difficulty because of their gambling. They’re similar in principle to the ability-to-pay checks carried out by financial service providers of loans and credit cards. In practice, affordability checks on any player gambling over a certain threshold run in the background and should satisfy the operator that their customer has sufficient funds to continue.   

Our award-winning solutions for gaming operators are designed to protect players. We work with the UK Gambling Commission, industry associations, charities and iGaming operators to design affordability checks that offer operators the most complete view of player affordability while maintaining a great player onboarding experience.

Geo-affordability and individual player affordability checks

Our affordability screening solution includes two layers of protection for players that become more powerful when the checks are combined.

Geo-affordability checks assess postcode-level data, such as the area’s average property values and typical negative financial and debt indicators, such as the number of county court judgements (CCJs) recorded in the area, as one assessment of risk.  

Individual affordability checks reveal personal financial stress indicators including recent CCJs, involuntary agreements (IVAs), debt collection and credit searches. These checks deliver a simple red, amber or green affordability signal for individual players.

Don't gamble on customer data in an increasingly regulated gaming industry.

Detailed player affordability checks

Extra affordability protection can be added to these simple traffic light signals for individual players.

Detailed affordability analytics indicate the type, value and date of any debt that appears on a player’s credit file, indicating financial problems that may exclude him or her from play or flag for further investigation. These indicators can also be applied to test the financial health of the whole player community using a service.

 

“Responsible iGaming operators know that now is the time to implement affordability checks for players, rather than waiting for the UK Gambling Commission to impose them on the industry.”

 

Now is the time to get player protection right

For gambling and online gaming, increased UK regulation on affordability is now an odds-on certainty. The only question is when a new UK Gambling Act will arrive.    

With an acute cost-of-living crisis putting the discretionary income of many people under pressure, player protection can no longer be left to chance. Responsible iGaming operators know that now is the time to implement affordability checks for players, rather than waiting for the UK Gambling Commission to impose them on the industry.

When the new regulations do come into force, operators will be able to configure our affordability solution, adapt to regulatory thresholds and adjust affordability checks to ensure they comply with the new legislation.

 

Frequently asked questions

How can we help protect your players?

Our award-winning solutions for gaming operators are designed to protect players. Our onboarding checks for players go beyond identity, name and address information, including affordability screening through geo-affordability and detailed individual affordability checks, as well as age verification to prevent underage gambling. Together our solutions provide a safer gaming environment and promote responsible iGaming operations.

What are gambling affordability checks?

These affordability checks are designed to identify customers at risk of running into financial difficulty because of their gambling. Similar in principle to the ability-to-pay checks for financial services; in practice, affordability checks on any player gambling over a certain threshold run in the background and should satisfy the operator that their customer has sufficient funds to continue.  

What is age verification?

Online age verification protects underage visitors and your business by restricting access to minors without impacting the experience of adult customers. For regulated industries, age verification can be an essential part of online identity verification, safeguarding the wellbeing of children and young people while ensuring regulatory compliance for your business.

What are KYC checks?

Know your customer (KYC) checks are designed to protect businesses against fraud, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing. Regulated industries, including financial, legal and gambling, must verify their customers’ identity, understand their activities and source of funds and assess the risk of money laundering.

We offer the iGaming industry connected digital identity verification and fraud prevention solutions alongside affordability checks and player protection. 

 

Lucy  Colman

Author

Lucy Colman

Identity Product Manager

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