UKGC pushes back consultation deadline on affordability checks

Affordability checks
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Affordability is going to be a key issue in the gambling review, not just from the industry which sees it as a giant leap outside of the regulatory remit, but also broader afield where many are arguing that wealth checks impose a serious over-reach of state intervention into personal lives. After all, if you can’t afford to gamble, should you also be asked if you can afford to smoke or eat fast foods? But the personal liberty argument hasn’t really impacted on the Gambling Commission which recently extended the time for people to lodge their opinions on the issue of afford ability – begging the obvious question: is it just waiting until it gets enough people to support its case?

 

The Gambling Commission has extended the deadline on its consultation for stricter regulation on online operators – citing a higher than expected volume of evidence submissions.

Launched on November 3, the remote customer interaction consultation called for public positioning on if (and how) online operators should take greater steps to actively identify problem gamblers.

Included in the new proposals up for discussion is the controversial prospect of mandatory “affordability assessments,” which the regulator claims will help operators better determine “consumer vulnerability.” Critics have argued (with justification) that any such checks would carry serious implications both for data security and consumer privacy.

Evidence from industry stakeholders was technically sought at the opening of the consultation process, but the regulator made it clear that it was “particularly keen to hear directly from consumers”… which seemed tantamount to a confession that what the industry has to say on the matter is of little to no importance to the UKGC.

Whilst the initial deadline for submission was set for January 12, the Commission has now pushed this back to February 9: due to what it says has been “high engagement” from the public.

A statement went on to claim that the additional time would allow the watchdog to collate “the strongest evidence-base possible from consumers and other stakeholders.”

Of course, a cynic could be forgiven for thinking that the evidence thus-far received by the regulator doesn’t quite yet fit the narrative it wishes to impose.


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