Betting operators to take a new approach to affordability

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

As the UK betting and gaming industry stands at a crossroads with a new regulatory framework finally looming on the horizon, reflections on the government’s White Paper continue to flood in.

It means that operators are going to be required to deploy new processes and take an enhanced approach to affordability, according to Vasilije Lekovic, VP of Gaming at Trustly. 

He told Payment Expert: “The strengthened gaming regulation means operators will need to deploy new processes or systems to ensure compliance, but the long-term benefits of prioritising player safety are clear.”

Key to the approach can be Open Banking tech, something which the government specifically highlighted in its White Paper as a potential tool to boost affordability checks, whilst not being overly intrusive as many stakeholders have feared over the past two years. 

Intervention from operators has been marked at a monthly net loss threshold of £125 and a yearly net loss of £500 has been proposed as the ideal benchmark for initial checks, with £1,000 in losses within one day or £2,000 within 90 days put forward as a higher threshold.

The government emphasised that these limits will allow the ‘overwhelming majority’ of punters who gamble safely to continue to do so without interference in their financial affairs, yet still providing safeguards for those vulnerable to problem gambling. 

Lekovic added on the approach and the role of Open Banking: “Open Banking is an optimal way to make affordability checks as it provides access to real-time financial data that enables operators to conduct checks efficiently, accurately, and with minimal intrusion. This approach ensures a seamless user experience, promoting player safety while maintaining a sustainable and positive gaming experience. 

“Trustly has built an AIS Open Banking product for the UK market to help operators meet the requirements outlined in the Whitepaper. We are committed to working together with operators and regulators to drive a safer and more responsible gambling market.”

Commenting on the release of the Government’s long awaited Gambling Act White Paper, Joe Ewens, Senior Gambling Industry Analyst at Vixio Regulatory Intelligence, also revealed that he believes that operators will be ‘broadly happy’ with ‘less intense’ affordability checks. 

He stated: “Despite numerous delays, today’s publication of the government’s Gambling Act white paper only marks the end of the beginning for gambling reform in the UK. While the industry will be broadly happy that affordability measures are less intense than originally feared and gambling advertising is almost untouched, they have reason to fear what’s still to come.

“The White Paper does little to end the fierce debates on gambling policy and lays out a number of battlefields. In particular, stakes for online slots are set to be capped from anywhere between £2 and £15, pending a consultation. 

“Campaigners will push hard for the lowest possible limits, as they successfully did on betting shops’ machines a few years ago. Taking into account the several other consultations announced today, there will be no easing of social pressure on gambling operators in the foreseeable future.”