igamingnext photo
UK ‘light touch’ affordability checks will be triggered at £150 in gambling spend per month, the Gambling Commission confirmed today (1 May) amid other changes.

The regulator has issued more information about its response to the first tranche of white paper consultations, launched in August 2023.  

These included the affordability checks consultation, often considered the most controversial of the government’s proposed safer gambling reforms.

The Commission confirmed that the lower level, so-called “light touch” checks will be triggered at £150 per month.

These checks will examine publicly available information about a customer, such as bankruptcy orders or a history of unpaid debts.

This is slightly higher than the £125 limit that was first proposed in the long-awaited Gambling Act review white paper in April 2023.

The light touch checks will first kick in with a £500 per month limit in August this year, before reducing to £150 in February 2025.

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “As a gambling regulator it’s vital that the introduction of new rules is based on evidence and takes into account the views of consumers and other interested parties.

“We have listened to the views expressed in our engagement and in the consultation responses, and we have made changes while still ensuring that we deliver meaningful protections. 

Commission confirms pilot study

The gambling regulator also repeated its previous promise to introduce a pilot study on the more intensive checks, which some have argued risk driving consumers to the black market.

The pilot period, which is set to run for six months, will be used to test the functionality of data sharing, using techniques such as open banking.

While the government has promised the checks will be “frictionless”, some have expressed doubts over whether this is possible with current technology.

Rhodes added: “We are also pleased to be taking forward a pilot of financial risk assessments and data collection, which together will ensure that we can make informed decisions about how these assessments can be implemented in a way that supports both consumer freedom and protections.

“We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm.”

Following the conclusion of the pilot, the UKGC said it would decide whether to implement the checks on a permanent basis.

However, the Commission promised it would not do so until the checks are frictionless for the “vast majority of customers”.

The regulator also promised that neither the lighter nor more intensive checks would affect any consumer’s credit score.

BGC Interim Code set at £5,000 per month

Meanwhile, industry standards body and lobbying group the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) has released an interim industry code for affordability checks, prior to their full implementation.

This voluntary code will kick in at £5,000 in gambling spend per month or £25,000 in a rolling 12-month period, confirming prior reports on these temporary limits.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Today’s announcement of an interim code on customer checks is a major step forward, and will help ensure that we can continue to protect those at risk of gambling harm without penalising ordinary punters.

“Under the new interim code, there will be a reduction in the number of customers subject to the current inconsistent approach, as well as greater transparency and consistency across the sector.

“We welcome the work of industry to agree this voluntary code, and their contribution to the Gambling Commission’s recent consultation on financial risk checks.

Similar posts