Gambling Commission addresses “misinformation” about financial risk checks

The Gambling Commission says financial risk checks would affect only 3 per cent of accounts.
The Gambling Commission says financial risk checks would affect only 3 per cent of accounts.

The British regulator’s CEO aims to clear up misunderstandings.

UK.- Andrew Rhodes, CEO of the British Gambling Commission, has published a series of questions and answers that aims to offer clarification on the regulator’s proposals for financial risk checks. Writing on the Gambling Commission website, he said he hoped the post would “aid responses during the remaining six weeks of the consultation”.

Rhodes recently described the regulator’s work on financial risk checks as the “most challenging part of what we’re doing.” In the new blog post, he said that there has been “a significant amount of misinformation… in direct responses to the consultation, in the media and on social media.”

He said that a “key myth” was that the proposed checks would inconvenience customers, saying that the regulator proposed a “system of proportionate checks” targetting high-spending customers where the impacts of harm have the highest severity. He repeated the belief that the “frictionless financial risk assessments” will affect an estimated 3 per cent of gambling accounts.

He wrote: “We seek in our proposals to strike the right balance between the freedoms of people to gamble but also conducting proportionate checks to identify and protect the most vulnerable customers from harm.”

He explained that the checks would “take place primarily via a credit reference agency, with no impact on credit score.”

Rhodes added: “Only where there is no credit file and the customer chooses not to consent to sharing of data via open banking would they be asked to provide other evidence of financial circumstances to allow risk to be considered. This means that only an estimated 0.3 per cent of account holders would ever be asked to provide information such as payslips or bank statements.”

Meanwhile, light-touch financial vulnerability checks based on “publicly available data” would be carried out on 20 per cent of accounts.

Rhodes wrote “We do not propose any blanket rules about what action must be taken following a check. Financial risk information gathered through these checks is to be taken into account alongside any other indicators of harm that might be present.”

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