After numerous delays, the much-anticipated government gambling white paper is here.
Whilst the proposals outlined in the recently released and much-anticipated UK gambling white paper - “High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age” - are subject to consultation by the Gambling Commission, it is now clear what the government is seeking to achieve by updating existing regulation.
As well as updating the language framing the debate from ‘affordability’ to ‘financial risk’, the paper sets out expectations for non-intrusive financial risk checks using financial vulnerability data where players are making moderate gambling losses, with a more thorough disposable income assessment likely to apply to players with significant gambling losses.
To achieve this, the government is proposing two key checks to address financial risks:
Firstly, financial vulnerability checks at moderate levels of spend, to check for financial vulnerability indicators.
Secondly, enhanced spending checks, which occur at higher levels of spend which may indicate harmful binge gambling or sustained unaffordable losses.
How we are going to help operators be compliant?
While the gaming industry continues to wait for financial risk checks to be legally required and clearly defined, it is evident that the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact many UK households, 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 government has praised those operators who have already implemented measures to identify and protect vulnerable players and clearly expects this to continue in parallel to the consultation. The white paper also outlines how the UK Gambling Commission will be given additional resources to improve its enforcement powers, so there is even more incentive for gaming operators to act now.
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.
It appears that new regulation will require the iGaming industry to monitor player losses, including taking a step towards a ‘single player view’ of an individual’s gambling 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 being considered. Better player protection now will help operators build trust in the sector and create a safer environment for players.
Our financial risk checks, previously known as affordability checks, as per industry terminology, 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, financial risk 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 online gaming operators to design checks that offer operators the most complete view of player affordability while maintaining a great player onboarding experience.
Our solution includes two layers of protection for players that become more powerful when the checks are combined.
Geo-demographic 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 CCJs recorded in the area, as one assessment of risk.
Individual consumer checks reveal personal financial stress indicators including CCJs (as recommended by the white paper), involuntary agreements (IVAs), debt collection and credit searches. These checks deliver a simple red, amber, or green affordability signal for individual players.
Extra protection can be added to these simple traffic light signals for individual players.
Our detailed check provides the type, value and date of any public 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.
For online gaming, increased UK player protection regulation 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 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 solution, adapt to regulatory thresholds and adjust affordability checks to ensure they comply with the new legislation.
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-demographic and detailed individual financial risk checks, as well as age verification to prevent underage gaming. Together our solutions provide a safer gaming environment and promote responsible iGaming operations.
These checks are designed to identify customers at risk of running into financial difficulty. Similar in principle to the ability-to-pay checks for financial services; in practice, financial risk 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.
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.
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, full KYC onboarding and fraud prevention solutions alongside financial risk checks for player protection.
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