Affordability and customer’s personal circumstances
This formal guidance for remote gambling operators is not current and from 12 September 2022 operators are no longer required to take it into account. It was published in July 2019 and remained in effect from 31 October 2019 to 11 September 2022.
Following our consultation on customer interaction, Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.3 for remote gambling operators has been introduced and the majority of requirements are in effect from 12 September 2022. We issued this update on the regulatory requirements and status of formal guidance regarding customer interaction for remote gambling operators. The guidance issued in June 2022 under Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.3 is not in effect and is subject to further consultation. Operators are not required to take it into account.
Historically, gambling operators have not systematically considered customer affordability when developing their customer interaction policies. Many have used deposit or loss thresholds as a main or sole prompt for a customer interaction, but these have often been set at levels that were inappropriately high, in comparison to the average amount of money that the majority of people have available to spend on leisure activities. This has led to a number of examples of customers spending more than they could afford, and this not being identified sufficiently early, as seen in much of the Commission’s compliance and enforcement casework since 2017.
Operators should aim to identify those experiencing or at risk of harm and intervene to try to reduce harm at the earliest opportunity. Reliance on deposit or loss thresholds that are set too high will result in failing to detect some customers who may be experiencing significant harms associated with their gambling. It is therefore imperative that threshold levels are set appropriately.
Open source data exists which can help operators assess affordability for their GB customer base and improve their risk assessment for customer interactions. Thresholds should be realistic, based on average available income for your customers. This should include the Office of National Statistics publications (opens in a new tab) on levels of household income.
In considering these thresholds, you should be aware of the difference between ‘disposable income’ and ‘discretionary income’ which refers to the amount left after living costs are taken into account, but it does still include many other unavoidable costs. Most people would consider it harmful if they were spending a significant amount of their discretionary income on gambling.Previous page
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Last updated: 15 September 2022
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- Information in the callout at the beginning of the guidance page has been updated.