According to industry veteran David Brown, there is a precarious tightrope that the UK Gambling Commission (GC) must now balance in terms of implementing affordability checks. During a recent gathering of industry leaders, GC’s chief executive Andrew Rhodes attempted to address this challenge, which has united punters, racing media, and bookmakers. However, Rhodes’ speech has been met with criticism and skepticism, with many in the industry feeling that the GC does not have their interests at heart.
One of the primary concerns raised is the accuracy of the GC’s statistics regarding the number of accounts that will be subject to affordability checks. Brown argues that the 3% figure provided by the GC does not accurately represent the accounts of regular punters, as it includes occasional punters who only bet on major events. He emphasizes the need for clear definitions of terms such as ‘active’ gambler and ‘dormant’ account to achieve a shared understanding and facilitate decision-making.
Brown also warns that the implementation of affordability checks could lead to customers turning to illegal betting operators within Britain, posing a threat to the industry. He suggests a collaborative approach to identify and prosecute illegal activities, as well as a review of the collaborative relationships between the industry and the GC in order to address underlying issues and improve the understanding of bettors’ behavior.
Despite the challenges, Brown acknowledges the progress made in reducing severe gambling harm and calls for industry leaders to step forward and work together to navigate the changing landscape and find common ground in addressing these issues. He emphasizes the resilience of the industry and the potential for positive progress if stakeholders can find new ways of thinking and collaborate effectively.