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Gambling Commission outlines next steps for financial risk checks

The Gambling Commission has detailed plans for financial risk checks within UK gambling: light-touch public data checks & a pilot for deeper credit-based assessments.

tim miller gambling commission

In a recent update, Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy at the Gambling Commission, shed light on the Commission's plans regarding financial risk checks to address gambling-related harms.

The Commission's actions stem from its commitment to fulfill the objectives outlined in the Government's Gambling White Paper, which commenced with consultations initiated in Summer 2023.

One of the key areas of focus during these consultations was the issue of financial risk, aimed at identifying and mitigating potential financial vulnerabilities among customers.

Collaborating closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Commission aims to ensure that the forthcoming measures closely align with the intentions outlined in the White Paper.

The overarching goal is to conduct these checks in a manner that is minimally intrusive for the majority of customers while effectively identifying those who may be financially vulnerable.

During the consultation process, the Commission addressed common misconceptions surrounding the proposed financial risk checks. The aim is to strike a balance between protecting individuals from the adverse effects of gambling-related harm while respecting the freedom of adults to engage in gambling activities responsibly.

Based on feedback received during the consultation, the Commission has outlined its approach to two forms of financial risk checks:

1. Frictionless, light-touch financial vulnerability checks: These checks will primarily use publicly available data to identify vulnerabilities such as bankruptcy orders or unpaid debts. Initially, these checks will be implemented at a higher threshold before transitioning to a lower threshold later in the year to facilitate smoother implementation for consumers. 

2. Enhanced financial risk assessments: The Commission proposes conducting a pilot program to test enhanced financial risk assessments informed by credit reference data at unusually high loss levels. The pilot will allow the Commission to refine data-sharing processes and evaluate the impact on consumers before full implementation. 

The pilot program, expected to run for approximately four to six months, will involve collaboration with a selection of operators representing various sectors within the gambling industry. Throughout the pilot period, operators will not be required to take action based on the data received, allowing for genuine testing of the data-sharing process.

The Commission reported that financial risk assessments are just one component of the broader range of controls and protections in place to address gambling-related harm. As such, the pilot approach aims to inform future decision-making while ensuring that the objectives of the White Paper are met.

This development follows the Gambling Commission's previous initiatives, including consultations on financial penalties and reporting requirements, aimed at improving regulatory effectiveness and transparency within the industry.

Miller also sat down with Gambling Insider for a Huddle interview at ICE, which will be published soon.


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