UK poll finds public support for affordability checks

The government has proposed thresholds for affordability checks.
The government has proposed thresholds for affordability checks.

GambleAware is supporting proposals for financial risk checks.

UK.- Affordability checks, or financial risk checks, as the government prefers to call them, remain one of the most controversial proposals on the table in the review of British gambling legislation. The gambling industry and the horse racing sector are dead against them, but a new poll suggests there may be public support for such measures.

A survey conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by GambleAware found that more than half of adults supported financial risk checks in gambling. The survey questioned 4,170 people aged 18 to 75.

The current proposal is for enhanced checks on players who lose £1,000 within 24 hours or £2,000 in 90 days. Operators would carry out passive checks on players who make a net loss of more than £125 a month or £500 per year.

GambleAware, which has come out in support of the proposal, says its survey found that 61 per cent of the public backed “light touch” financial vulnerability checks to identify vulnerable customers and 57 per cent supported the idea of “enhanced” checks for higher losses.

Of those surveyed, 10 per cent said light checks would apply to them and 5 per cent would face enhanced checks under the proposed thresholds. Some respondents raised concerns about privacy and about the possibility of people finding a way around the checks.

GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond said: “As we continue to see a steady rise in demand for support and treatment services, we are urging the government to ensure there are no missed opportunities when it comes to the instruction of robust preventative measures to tackle this rapidly growing public health issue.

“It’s imperative that proactive measures are taken to address the root causes of gambling harm. This includes comprehensive education programmes and awareness-raising campaigns, stronger regulations to protect vulnerable populations and sufficient funding for treatment and support services. 

“By prioritising preventative action and ensuring the industry take some responsibility for protecting individuals against unaffordable losses, we can mitigate the detrimental impact of problem gambling on individuals and society as a whole.”

UK government expected to announce spin limit for online slots

Meanwhile, it’s widely expected that the UK government will today finally confirm a spin limit for online slots, possibly bringing them in line with land-based betting machines. The Guardian has reported that the government is expected to announce the measure on Friday.

The move has been on the table for some time and was the subject of a consultation following the publication of the UK gambling white paper last April. A £2 per spin limit was imposed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in 2019, but no limit has been applied for online slots so far, although some larger operators voluntarily impose limits.

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