Racing TV Survey Shows Concerns over Affordability Checks

There are several ways in which you can practice responsible gambling. One is what have been described as ‘affordability’ checks. A new Racing TV survey has shown that these are not very popular with gamblers.

The policy would allow gambling sites to see just how much those checked out can spend on the site. Such a policy is believed to be part of the ongoing government gambling review of the 2005 Gambling Act. One proposed idea is that as little as a £100 monthly loss could see checks being carried out.

2,000 Racing TV members took part in the survey. The thought of having to hand over payslips and bank statements to online gambling sites received a massive thumbs down. 95% of respondents said they would not be happy to see the checks take place. Other surveys carried out recently have also expressed concerns over affordability checks.

The survey did give a positive reply to whether checks should just be for those who may have potential problems in controlling how much they gamble. 74% believed that this was ok. That tallies with the opinions of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

Another question was whether such a policy would lead to gamblers heading to the black market online. 85% of those replying said that they believed that would happen.

The survey also asked if gamblers should be able to decide how much money they bet without government interference. 88% replied yes to that one. Another unpopular government policy looks on the way.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher is “alarmed” over the findings of the survey. He’s particularly concerned about a possible increase in the numbers going on the black market. If that did happen it would put in jeopardy the £350 million a year that is given to horse racing in sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy by BGC members.

Mr Dugher said that while the BGC “strongly support the gambling review,” it must strike a right balance. That means “protecting the vulnerable and not spoiling the enjoyment of the vast majority of customers who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly.”

Now government ministers are being asked to look at the results of the survey as regards to the checks. Only last week, affordability checks received the approval of gambling minister Chris Philp. He did say though that they needed to be proportionate. A gambling site asking for payslips/bank statements when low amounts are being lost could be seen as “unwelcome, disruptive and disproportionate to the risks.”