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Image of Helen Rhodes, the Commission's Director for major policy projects along with the blog post title

Commission welcomes ICO backing for consumer protection initiatives

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been working with the Government and the Gambling Commission to support the delivery of new safeguards for gambling consumers.

Posted 13 July 2023 by Helen Rhodes

Today, the ICO has published information which enables two important gambling consumer protection initiatives to proceed to the next stages.

Last week, we shared a blog post about the Commission's implementation of our commitments linked to the Government's Gambling Act Review. In that blog post, we looked ahead to consultations about new rules which will be launched later this month, and to reviewing industry progress as they meet the challenges set by the Commission and government.

We welcome the ICO's publications (opens in new tab) today, which gives support to further progressing two important projects as part of our programme of work connected with the Review.

The ICO has examined two areas – financial risk assessments and Single Customer View.

Financial risk assessments

The first area is the legal basis of a key policy which will form part of our forthcoming consultations – the sharing of relevant credit reference information to allow remote gambling businesses to undertake financial risk assessments.

The Commission will propose new rules requiring remote gambling businesses to conduct financial risk assessments when there are unusually high gambling losses by a small proportion of customers. By doing so, we seek to reduce the risk of binge gambling, significant unaffordable gambling over time, and harm to consumers who are particularly financially vulnerable.

Government, the Commission and the ICO consider that necessary credit reference information should be used to inform risk assessments carried out by gambling businesses. However, there are no proposals for gambling data to be shared to credit reference agencies or to the financial sector. Normally the arrangements in this space require those obtaining information to also input their data to the credit reference system. The Commission has been working with UK Finance and the relevant committee – The Steering Committee on Reciprocity (SCOR)(opens in new tab) – to seek an exception to this approach for the gambling sector to support tackling risk of serious harm for the small proportion of gambling consumers with unusually high losses.

The information published today by the ICO is an important step ahead of our consultation - it confirms that data sharing could take place in a manner that is compatible with data protection rules as set out in their letter to UK Finance (opens in new tab) on this topic. This will allow stakeholders to progress discussions about how such assessments can take place, the necessary safeguards and transparency for data sharing, and to build appropriate data-sharing agreements. We look forward to working with UK Finance, Steering Committee on Reciprocity (SCOR)(opens in new tab), credit reference agencies and others to progress this work.


The second area the ICO has examined follows extensive work as part of their sandbox pilots to explore data-sharing across gambling operators where there are markers of harm – which is sometimes referred to as a Single Customer View. The industry trade association, Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), and its members have introduced a pilot of this system named GamProtect(opens in new tab) following our challenge to industry.

GamProtect began operating on a trial basis in February 2023 and involves four of the largest gambling businesses. The initial focus is on sharing information between these business where customers have disclosed very serious markers of health-related harms.

We are pleased that the ICO today issued their final Sandbox exit report (opens in new tab) which sets out the way in which our challenge to industry can be fully implemented across the remote gambling sector.

Now that the Sandbox is complete, and a solution is in place, we look forward to the swift development of GamProtect, which will include the onboarding of more gambling businesses and the expansion of the markers of harm applied to identify those at serious risk of serious harm.

As our last blog post said, implementing the Gambling Act Review is a key part of our work to make gambling safer, fairer and crime free over the next few years. Today's reports by the ICO are a significant contribution to our programme of work, and we welcome ICO's work to support these two key initiatives to protect online gambling consumers.

About the author

Helen Rhodes is the Commission's Director for major policy projects


In the ICO reports today, they cross-refer to correspondence between the Commission and UK Finance. We have included a copy of our letter to UK Finance (PDF) for transparency.

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