Gambling Minister Chris Philips has offered an update to the ongoing review of the Gambling Act 2005, outlining its strategy at combating gambling-related harm. His speech at GambleAware’s annual conference titled, Collaboration in the Prevention of Gambling Harms, highlighted a collaboration between themselves and gambling industry stakeholders.
More Robust Strategy Needed
Although operators are already actively monitoring online gambling habits’ he suggested a more robust strategy and operators to ‘step in’ if a customer appears at risk of gambling-related harm. A new system put in place to prevent customers from spending unaffordable amounts of money would have a ‘transformative impact’.
£100 Spend Limits Unwelcome, Disruptive and Disproportionate
Operators are already under increasing pressure from lobbyists and parliamentary groups to ensure stricter measures are taken to prevent gambling-related harm and have actively integrated many tools including self-exclusion and spend limits. However, Mr. Philip assured operators that customer spend limits of over £100 requiring affordability checks including banks statements and payslips were “unwelcome”, disruptive and disproportionate. Alternatively, the minister suggested the need for a collaborative approach between the regulator and operators to leverage data and technology, to determine whether a customer’s spending required more in-depth affordability checks.“As minister for Digital, I am keen to explore the role of technology and available data, such as that held by credit reference agencies, to make these sorts of checks work smoothly in a way that is acceptable to customers.” The minister went on to say many online gamblers on average use three accounts with betting firms whilst younger people and problem gamblers have more. Greater cooperation from operators would be necessary to deter further gambling-related harm. The lengths gambling operators have already taken to counter gambling-related harm would be undermined if a customer could simply switch to another operator, preventing this happening must be a priority. Moving forward, developing a data repository would fill in the gaps still existing in the current system. “The upcoming white paper will provide further detail on how we will make sure that the Gambling Commission is equipped to deal with the range of challenges that it faces across the gambling sector today and in the future.”