Getting player protection and gaming financial risk checks right
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Getting player protection and gaming financial risk checks right

Lucy  Colman

Lucy Colman

Identity Product Manager

On May 1 2024, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced new measures to improve player safety. These included the introduction of light-touch financial risk checks aimed at protecting vulnerable players and promoting responsible gambling.   

These safety measures are consistent with the UK government’s white paper, High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age, published in 2023.   

The measures include new deposit threshold-based financial vulnerability checks (commonly known within the industry as ‘affordability checks’) as well as new rules around direct marketing, digital game design and age verification for land-based venues. The rollout will begin in August 2024 and wrap up in February 2025. 

'Affordability checks' for players

The UKGC will phase in these player affordability checks; iGaming operators will see the most immediate impact on their operations with the introduction of these light-touch financial risk checks.  

From August 30 2024, operators must perform a risk check on all players depositing over £500 on their platform in a 30-day period. Checks will rely solely on publicly available data, such as County Court Judgments (CCJs) and bankruptcies.  From February 28 2025, a lower threshold will apply, with operators required to screen all players depositing £150 or over.  

The UKGC also announced a six-month pilot of high-spending player financial assessment checks using credit reference agencies. This pilot will take place in a ‘non-live environment’, the checks must be frictionless and have no impact on a player’s credit rating. The pilot will assess the effectiveness of these assessments and determine the financial threshold for conducting live checks in the future.  

Financial vulnerability checks for gaming operators

Partnering for player protection

As the global leaders in player identity verification, partnering with gaming operators and all major UK credit reference agencies, we are the go-to supplier for operators wishing to protect vulnerable players and implement financial risk checks following the UKGC announcement.

Over many years we have worked closely with the UK Gambling Commission, industry associations, charities and iGaming operators to design checks that deliver the most complete view of player affordability while maintaining a fast, frictionless player onboarding experience.

“Responsible iGaming operators know that now is the time to implement affordability checks for players to ensure compliance with UKGC regulation.”

What are financial vulnerability checks?

Our financial vulnerability checks are designed to identify players who have experienced financial difficulty and are at greater risk of gambling harm.

As stipulated by UKGC, our checks provide operators with publicly available personal unpaid debt data including granular County Court Judgments (CCJs) and bankruptcy notifications, as well as a simple red, amber or green player affordability status derived from this publicly available data.

In practice, any financial risk check takes a moment and has minimal impact on player onboarding while providing a reliable indication of financial vulnerability.

Geo affordability and individual indicators

Our financial vulnerability checks also include additional indicators to provide a multi-faceted view of a player’s financial well-being.

Our geo affordability checks assess postcode-level data, such as the area’s average property values and typical negative financial and debt indicators, including the number of CCJs recorded in that particular postcode.

Our new player affordability score uses both postcode and individual player financial stress data, including sub-prime loan application data, to help protect vulnerable players. An affordability score of 1-100 for each player is generated, with a low score indicating low affordability and higher financial risk.

UKGC timeline for financial risk checks

1. April 29 2023

The UK government’s white paper alerts the gaming industry to a UKGC consultation outlining new checks to protect financially vulnerable players at moderate and high levels of spend.

2. May 1 2024

The UKGC announces a two-stage phased implementation of light-touch financial risk checks and a pilot for rapid enhanced risk assessments for higher spending players.

3. August 30 2024

Light-touch financial risk checks using publicly available data are required to assess vulnerability for any player with a net deposit of more than £500 a month.

4. February 28 2025

This second phase requires gaming operators to perform a light-touch financial risk check for all players depositing more than £150 net a month into their gambling account.

It’s time to get player protection right

For online gaming, increased UK player protection regulation is now happening.

With many UK citizens experiencing cost-of-living pressure on discretionary income, the protection of vulnerable players can no longer be left to chance. Responsible iGaming operators know that the new UKGC financial risk checks are the right thing to do.

On August 30 2024, when UKGC financial risk checks come into force, iGaming operators working with us can simply switch on financial vulnerability alongside existing identity verification checks in their player onboarding process.

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