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.
New guidance is available issued in August 2023 under Social Responsibility (SR) Code Provision 3.4.3. This Customer interaction guidance – for remote gambling licensees (Formal guidance under SR Code 3.4.3) is in effect from 31 October 2023, and remote gambling operators are required to take the guidance into account from this date.
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: 21 September 2023
Show updates to this content
Guidance callout updated following the 'Remote customer interaction - consultation on guidance'.