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Consultation response

Summer 2023 consultation – Proposed changes to LCCP and RTS: Consultation Response

This response sets out our position in relation to the consultation on the proposed changes to LCCP and Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards.

Summary of the responses to the 2023 consultation on financial vulnerability and financial risk

On 26 July 2023 we issued our Summer 2023 consultation, including proposals on the topic of remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk. The consultation ran for 12 weeks until 18 October 2023.

We received 1,965 written responses to the Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk part of the consultation, from the following categories of respondents:

  • 1592 from members of the public
  • 46 from gambling businesses
  • 72 from other respondent types including: charities and non-profit organisations, licensing authorities or other regulators, other professional organisations, academics and academic organisations and trade associations
  • we also received a number of responses from people responding in a personal capacity who work or have worked in a gambling business.

Consultation questions

The 2023 consultation explored issues associated with both types of checks, including:

  • the thresholds for checks and assessments
  • the definitions of net loss connected with those thresholds
  • the data to be included in each check or assessment
  • how long the data remains relevant
  • the action an operator must take following a check or assessment and while it is pending
  • data protection considerations
  • considerations associated with implementation
  • equalities considerations
  • impact assessment.

A copy of the consultation questions is available.

Respondents’ views

Overall views

Many respondents across this consultation topic disagreed with the overall principle of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

The majority of respondents were members of the public, with large numbers of them stating that they are gambling consumers responding as individuals and that their gambling would meet one of the thresholds for financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

These respondents shared their concerns about the impact on their freedom to spend their money on what they like, often referring to other industries that are not regulated in this way, or sharing examples of other purchases they make that equate to the same amount (such as a daily cup of coffee costing more than the thresholds which had been set out for the light-touch financial vulnerability checks).

Some stated that they would move their gambling to the unregulated market, or their belief that others would do this.

Many stated concerns about their data and privacy, that they did not want gambling companies accessing their information. Some shared concerns that gambling businesses would use the data to restrict or close winning accounts.

Many shared their fears of how they felt the proposals would impact on horseracing and how, in turn, friction or anything like a gambling cap might affect many people who enjoy gambling as a hobby that contributes towards their wellbeing. Some suggested variations by product – suggesting online casino or slots games are a higher risk and that betting on horse racing, for example, should be exempt.

Gambling businesses often stated that they supported the principles of the consultation, but they did not fully support the detailed proposals and often requested further information or stated that they could not respond fully until the assessments were piloted or further tested. These respondents generally did not support the proposed use of postcode or job title to inform risk assessment.

Many referenced the white paper commitment that checks and assessments should be ‘frictionless’, questioning whether the detail in the white paper and/or the consultation proposals truly fulfilled that. Many also questioned the evidence base for the proposals.

Charities, often representing people with lived experience, and some academics suggested that the proposals were fully justified due to the risks to consumers, and in some cases suggested that the checks and assessments were not sufficient to prevent harm or should go further. For example, some suggested that the threshold amounts for the financial risk assessments were ‘too high’ and that it would be ‘too late’ to protect people from gambling harm by the time they reached them.

The responses overall indicated some potential confusion about the proposals – there persisted a false impression that the proposals amounted to a default cap on gambling and a false understanding that the proposals would affect a customer’s credit rating.

Views on implementation approach

Some respondents stated that the Gambling Commission should implement quickly in this area. This included people with lived experience and a respondent on behalf of a charity who raised concerns that ‘any delay will risk lives’.

However, while gambling businesses were mostly supportive of a pilot approach, many requested that the pilot and any implementation gave them ‘sufficient’ time in order to not overwhelm them. Suggestions were for a pilot to last at least 6 months.  

Some raised concerns about the impact on smaller gambling businesses and the time it will take them to implement any changes, as they have less resources. Some suggested consideration of seasonality and particular gambling events be made for implementation, including one smaller gambling business who said this was a significant factor for how they allocated resources.

General views on light-touch financial vulnerability checks

The large majority of consumer responses to the questions about financial vulnerability checks raised the same overall concerns.

Many stated that they considered the proposed thresholds were too low, and compared the thresholds with other things they spend their money on. Conversely some suggested that checks should be undertaken on every customer at account opening.

Some respondents did agree to the proposals, on the basis that they were ‘frictionless’ and did not impact people’s gambling journey or credit score. There was some support for the use of publicly available data for the financial vulnerability checks, though also concerns about proportionality of action that might be taken as a result of the check. A theoretical example of this was someone who might be restricted who had received a County Court Judgment (CCJ) for a parking fine.

Some gambling businesses shared that they were already conducting these types of checks and shared their experiences of doing this, including using the already publicly available data. Many gambling businesses did not agree with the proposals to include job title or postcode.

Respondents from organisations, such as charities and non-profits, supported the proposals for the financial vulnerability checks. One said that, at the £125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period level the check would ‘enable a history of significant financial difficulty to be identified at an early stage and enable gambling operators to engage and intervene before inappropriate and unaffordable losses escalate’.

Light-touch financial vulnerability checks - further details on key themes

Thresholds at which a light-touch financial vulnerability check should take place

Many respondents stated that both of the proposed thresholds in the consultation (£125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period or £500 within a rolling 365-day period) were too low.

Conversely, some respondents said the thresholds were too high or suggested the checks should be undertaken for every customer at account opening. Some charity or non-profit respondents said the amounts were high losses for many of the people they support with gambling harm. Some also suggested that 365 days was too long. Some noted that for some customers, these amounts could affect quality of life, given the low amounts of discretionary income for these customers.

Data to be used for a check

The majority of respondents across both members of the public and gambling businesses disagreed with the proposed inclusion of aggregated data in relation to a customer’s stated employment status and job title and cross-referencing to open source data about the average income for that occupation.

Respondents often considered this aggregated data would be potentially misleading and therefore unhelpful in understanding risk for the individual. In relation to postcode, many shared examples of wide disparities in financial security within a postcode area.

In relation to job roles and salaries, respondents again considered that the information would not be sufficiently tailored to the individual as salaries can vary significantly for the same job and salary ranges can be quite wide providing a potentially misleading picture.

As gambling businesses do not routinely collect information about job titles and salaries some commented that the addition of this information would add friction, as they would need to start collecting the data, and was therefore not in line with the proposal of ‘frictionless’ checks.

One professional organisation suggested that Debt Relief Orders (opens in new tab) should be one of the publicly available data points considered.

Validity of a check

The consultation proposed that a check would not need to be repeated during a 12 month period, even if the customer hit the threshold again. Responses were mixed on this 12 month time-frame for the validity of a financial vulnerability check.

Some gambling businesses shared their experiences of already conducting financial vulnerability checks and that they did not see customer’s financial circumstances changing substantially in this timeframe.

Conversely some respondents, including charities and non-profits, and bodies in the financial sector said that people’s circumstances do change quickly, such as following divorce, job loss or health issues.

Action following a check

The consultation proposed that a gambling business could continue to accept deposits and allow gambling to continue whilst a financial vulnerability check took place. This was on the basis that a frictionless and light-touch check would be administered quickly and that increased risk to the customer would be limited due to this speed. We asked questions about whether it was necessary to specify the timeframe in which a check would be conducted.

Responses were mixed on whether it is proportionate that deposits and gambling may continue while a financial vulnerability check takes place. Those in agreement stated that they believed it delivered on the mandate for checks to be ‘frictionless’. Of those who disagreed, many were against the checks overall. Some considered it ‘negligent’ to not stop people from gambling while checks took place and that it could reduce further harm being caused or give people a ‘cool off’ period.

Responses were also mixed on whether a requirement for a timeframe for a financial vulnerability check to be completed would be necessary. Individual respondents said transparency is important to avoid uncertainty for consumers. Gambling businesses often said it was unnecessary as the checks can be carried out instantaneously in real-time.

Data protection considerations

Many individual respondents had concerns about data protection, including how the data would be stored and how long it would be retained for, whether gambling businesses will be sufficiently trained and/or monitored and whether they would misuse the data.

When asked if there should be specific record keeping requirements, gambling business respondents were mixed. Some said it would be onerous and unnecessary, where others said it would be helpful for them to be consistent and clarify the requirements for compliance purposes.

Individual respondents emphasised the need for consumer transparency, with some stating that they would want their records to be available to them and that they would be important if they wanted to appeal a decision.

Enhanced financial risk assessments

Many of the responses to the questions about enhanced financial risk assessments covered the same concerns identified overall, such as principled objection to any checks at all and the impact on the gambling industry, particularly horse racing.

Individual respondents raised concerns about whether the assessments would have an impact on their credit records and how their data would be protected when being processed by the gambling businesses.

There was some agreement overall, with some individual respondents (such as members of the public or people who work or previously worked for a gambling business but responding in an individual capacity) stating that these thresholds seemed ‘more sensible’ than the ones proposed for the financial vulnerability checks and that they should definitely ‘sound alarm bells’ for gambling businesses.

Charities and non-profit organisations often agreed in principle but suggested that the thresholds were too high and by the time someone had hit them they might be too late to prevent gambling harm.

Gambling businesses were split in their agreement and disagreement with the proposal for financial risk assessments. Even when they agreed in principle, many requested further information such as definitions of key terminology and guidance on how to practically implement the assessments, what actions to take when someone reaches them and more information on the requirement for manual review. Many shared examples of other work they are doing to protect vulnerable people.

Many gambling businesses stated that the assessments should be tested in a pilot and evaluated, with one describing the proposals as an ‘appropriate starting point’. This was referenced in relation to the definitions of net loss as well as the types of information that must or could be included in an enhanced financial risk assessment, with some stating they were unclear on what information a credit reference agency would or could provide until it is piloted.

The majority of all respondents disagreed with lower thresholds for those aged 18 to 24 years old. Members of the public often did so because of overall principled objections to the checks. Gambling businesses were more likely to agree than members of the public.

Some gambling businesses shared examples of how they already currently protect this age group, which they agreed demonstrated a ‘heightened risk’ and were ‘shown to be more vulnerable’. Some felt these existing voluntary protections to be sufficient, such as a greater level of customer interactions for this age group, and that mandated lower thresholds were not necessary.

Some individual respondents suggested the proposal would amount to ‘age discrimination’, that was unfair on responsible people in this age group who may have more disposable income due to living at home. Some respondents raised concerns about students spending their loans.

Equalities considerations

Many respondents expressed concerns about how these proposals would affect ‘credit invisibles’, such as people who may not be able to pass credit checks due to their lack of credit history or employment record. This could include homemakers, retirees, unemployed people, or those with low incomes. 

Members of the public shared similar concerns with gambling businesses in regard to protected characteristics and ‘credit invisibles’, expressing further concerns on grounds of discrimination against those with disabilities and ‘stereotypical’ views from aggregated postcode data causing class and race discrimination.


Many respondents suggested the importance of further consideration of practical implementation issues to assess impact and highlighted the importance of a pilot to understand more about how the checks would work in practice.

Details on our next steps is set out in:
Our position: Light-touch financial vulnerability checks
Our position: Next steps for a pilot of enhanced financial risk assessments

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