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Exploring gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals

The Gambling Commission’s report on the attitudes and opinions of online gamblers regarding the proposals for financial vulnerability and financial risk checks.

  1. Contents
  2. Introduction


Background to the policy

In April 2023, the government published its White Paper High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age (opens in new tab), which set out a plan for reform of gambling regulation following the review of the Gambling Act 2005. This included a commitment that the Gambling Commission would consult on 2 forms of financial risk check.

In line with its regulatory duties, the Commission launched a public consultation in July 2023 to gather views on a proposed set of new obligations on gambling companies to conduct checks. These checks would be to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be harmful in the context of their financial circumstances, in the form of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments. All stakeholders, including gambling companies and members of the public, were invited to share their views on these proposals.

The Commission identified 3 key risks of gambling harm in their casework with remote gambling companies connected with financial indicators:

  • binge gambling
  • significant unaffordable losses over time
  • financially vulnerable customers.

To tackle these risks, the Commission worked with the government, and proposed 2 checks:

Financial vulnerability checks

The first was putting in place a standard approach to a light-touch check to identify customers who may be particularly financially vulnerable. These are unintrusive checks, using publicly available data at moderate levels of spend (in the highest 20 percent of customer accounts).

Some larger gambling companies already conduct such checks for all customers at registration, and others do so at some point in the customer journey. The Commission proposed these are conducted at £125 net loss within a rolling 30-day period, or £500 within a rolling 365-day period, which the Commission estimated would reach approximately 20 percent of customer accounts and identify vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts. At these moderate levels of spend, the Commission considered light-touch checks for financial vulnerabilities necessary, suitable, and proportionate.

Financial risk assessments

The second is an enhanced financial risk assessment at unusually high loss levels where the risks are greater. These assessments were proposed to be informed primarily by credit reference agency data. The Commission proposed them to apply where there are losses greater than £1,000 within a rolling 24 hours or £2,000 within 90 days. The Commission also proposed that the triggers for enhanced assessments should be lower for those aged 18 to 24 years old.

Alongside the public consultation, the Commission commissioned its own research, in the form of a mixed-methodology (quantitative and qualitative) project, to explore the attitudes of online gamblers regarding the package of proposals for financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

The research was designed to:

  • explore gamblers’ perceptions and whether they support the package of proposals
  • understand gamblers’ views on the individual proposals, including perceptions around effectiveness and why the gamblers hold those views
  • understand gamblers’ responses to how each proposal is implemented, such as: net loss thresholds, type of check, data use, validity periods and potential outcomes of the check
  • understand any differences between types of gambler, for example: different ages, more active gamblers or those scoring higher on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) scale.

The views gathered through the research and expressed through the consultation responses will be used to inform the Commission’s considerations of the consultation and the potential shape and scope of financial vulnerability checks and financial risk assessments.

This report outlines findings from both the qualitative and quantitative phases of the research project commissioned by the Commission and conducted by Yonder.

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Executive summary - Gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals
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Research approach - Gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals
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