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BGC Survey Finds Affordability Checks a ‘Genuine Concern’

Would a proposed affordability check scheme send UK punters into the arms of black market operators? That’s the conclusion of a recent survey of punters conducted by the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

The survey, which was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the BGC, found that 79 percent of punters queried thought that affordability checks would increase the chances of players heading to the black market. A full 70 percent of respondents said they would consider using a different operator if their current operator asked for extensive financial records before they would place a wager.

Affordability checks are emerging as a huge issue as the BGC prepares for the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) long-awaited white paper on gaming reform. One of the industry’s biggest fears is that proposed affordability checks could be so intrusive that punters will simply choose to go somewhere else. The only “somewhere else” available in this case, however, is the black market.

The operators represented by the BGC aren’t necessarily opposed to affordability checks, they just want to keep them at a reasonable level. “We want to see genuinely non-intrusive checks, which use technology to carefully target and protect the tiny minority of vulnerable punters, but intrusive, blanket, low level so-called ‘affordability’ checks will be universally rejected by punters,” BGC CEO Michael Dugher said in a recent posting on the BGC website.

“Any intrusive and blanket approach risks having the opposite effect by pushing them into the unsafe, unregulated black market which offers no safer gambling tools like time outs and deposit limits, doesn’t support the economy or sport and doesn’t pay a penny in tax,” he added.

The BGC is trying very hard to make certain that whomever is in charge of the UKGC knows their opinion when those long-awaited reforms arrive, and this survey is a great example of the trade group doing exactly that.