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Customers will not be required to upload documents during the Gambling Commission’s planned affordability checks pilot study.

Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller today (1 May) gave additional colour on what the upcoming pilot study will look like.

Miller highlighted that the process being frictionless is the most important principal in the study and will work to drive future decisions.

He added that even if the data sharing does not feel frictionless for consumers, they will not be required to upload documents for checks to be carried out.

Consumers being turned off legal operators by intrusive requests for bank statements and other financial documents has been a major concern among the proposal’s critics.

Miller said: “Once we get to the end of it, and we have a stronger understanding as to how the kind of different designs work, then we will be able to make decisions as to whether we are satisfied that we can go ahead with changes to the LCCP [Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice] in a way that does deliver what the white paper said.

“If we can’t deliver on white paper proposals, then clearly we will have to reflect on that and think again.”

Will operators increase affordability thresholds?

The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) today announced a new voluntary industry code to handle the period ahead of the full implementation of affordability checks.

The voluntary code includes gambling spend thresholds set at £5,000 per month or £25,000 per year, which stands at a higher level than several UK operators’ currently affordability thresholds.

Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes emphasised that these are minimum standards, not maximum.

All operators will be expected to continue to manage customer risk and have sufficient customer interactions of the required quality, he added.

Rhodes said: “What this is doing is removing some of the variability that we’ve seen because I know there are operators who had thresholds which were higher than this who were coming down – so you will see a mixture of movements I think.

“Operators obviously need to be able to cope with this as well, because one of them, I won’t name names, but one has said to me that they’re not confident that all of their policies and procedures are yet robust enough in their implementation to change from where they are.

“They want a higher degree of intervention and control until they’re comfortable. I think that’s a pretty mature response.”

In addition to the BGC’s Code on Customer Checks, the industry standards body and the Gambling Commission are working on a second voluntary code on AML checks that will also trigger document requests.

Rhodes added: “We think this code will help address the varying approaches from operators to customer spend triggers today, whilst we conduct a pilot on the use of the frictionless financial risk assessments that the government proposed in their white paper.

“Of course, operators remain under the obligation to meet other requirements to support customers at risk of harm.”

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