58% Against Affordability Checks in the United Kingdom

A recent YouGov poll reveals 58% against affordability checks in the UK. The BGC believes this could lead to an increase of UK punters moving to black-market gambling. (Image by Darya Sannikova at pexels.com)

In the UK, a recent poll by YouGov has revealed that 58% of UK gamblers are against affordability checks at online casinos. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has claimed that this should serve as a wake-up call for legislators in Britain.

The UK Government is currently reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act with the white paper on gambling legislation expected at some point in February. However, the BGC is concerned about the results of a survey that showed that the majority of gamblers are opposed to affordability checks as part of identifying problem gamblers.

The BGC believes that while legislators need to do more to battle problem gambling via the promotion of responsible gambling and the early detection of gambling addiction; they have to strike a fine balance protecting vulnerable players and not pushing regular betters into black market gambling.

Aside from revealing that 58% of UK gamblers are opposed to affordability checks, it also showed that 59% believe that probing customers’ finances will push more UK punters into gambling on the black market. Of those polled, only 16% said they would agree to online casinos performing an affordability check. These checks, which is something the government is considering as part of its review of current gambling legislation, could lead to players moving to unregulated or poorly regulated offshore online casinos, the BGC believes.

Could Regulations Designed to Protect UK Gamblers Actually Do the Opposite?

Gambling regulation in the UK is among the strictest in the world, but could over-regulation actually do more harm than good? The UKGC does a fine job of regulating online casinos in the UK and is never slow to fine or suspend brands that do not toe the line. However, if the government review pushes for affordability checks, it is difficult to argue against the stance of the Betting and Gaming Council. Many players would not like to have to ‘show’ they can afford to gamble online.

They are not buying a new car on credit or getting a mortgage to buy some property, they just want to place a few wagers. Although designed to prevent problem gambling, it will just lead to players playing in offshore casinos. The problem here is that these players get no protection when playing in offshore casinos, so attempting to nullify one problem just creates another. Players could lose money to scam casinos, the UK government earns less revenue from online gambling, and UK-based platforms also lose revenue.

Hopefully, the government review takes this into consideration before pushing further regulations that make the UK gambling industry increasingly unattractive to both players and operators in equal measure.

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