UKGC Chief Refuses to Acknowledge Affordability Check Effects Despite Conflicting Studies

Posted on: October 18, 2023, 07:25h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2023, 07:25h.

UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Andrew Rhodes has strongly criticized the International Association of Gambling Regulators (IAGR) for spreading misleading information about affordability checks. Rhodes accused news outlets of distorting facts and intentionally misrepresenting the potential consequences of these checks, which are designed to prevent harmful levels of gambling.

UK Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes in a press conference
UK Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes in a press conference. He has once again lashed out at the media for remarks on affordability checks. (Image: Sky News)

Affordability checks have been a source of controversy in the UK gambling industry as the government seeks to protect individuals from excessive gambling. The checks aim to assess a player’s financial situation to determine if they can afford the bets they are placing.

Rhodes addressed the IAGR and criticized media outlets for spreading misleading information about affordability checks, accusing them of trying to undermine government policy. He expressed frustration with these attempts to manipulate public opinion and oppose regulatory measures.

Interpretation of Reforms

Critics argue that affordability checks could have negative consequences for players and the gambling industry. While Rhodes defended the UKGC’s position that the impact would not be as severe as feared, he did not provide specific statistics or research to support this claim.

Rhodes’ remarks highlight the challenges faced by regulatory bodies in implementing measures to address gambling risks. The battle extends beyond legislation into the court of public opinion, where narratives about regulatory actions can shape perception and influence policy outcomes.

The CEO’s critique at the IAGR demonstrates the UKGC’s determination to counter attempts to sow doubt and opposition to regulatory measures. As debates on affordability checks continue, the UKGC must navigate public discourse to ensure a balanced understanding of regulations and their intended effects on the gambling industry and its customers.

The UKGC and government officials are currently concluding a consultation period on affordability checks and other issues. As of Rhodes’ speech at the IAGR, the regulator has received 2,100 responses, which will be taken into consideration in the final policies.

Disregarding Government Officials

Some have expressed concerns that strict controls on the UK gambling industry will drive players to unregulated offshore platforms. However, Rhodes dismisses these claims as “overstated,” citing a 46% decrease in black market online gambling through increased enforcement efforts by the UKGC. It’s important to note that these figures only reflect traffic to certain sites.

Despite Rhodes’ denial of the impact of affordability checks on the regulated market, a recent survey from the Racing Post reveals that some bettors are considering switching platforms. The survey found that 25% of respondents who had undergone affordability checks refused to participate, either quitting betting entirely or seeking alternative sites.

The same survey also indicated that only 8% of the total respondents would comply with the checks. 15.73% said they would comply initially, but not on subsequent attempts by the UKGC to enforce the checks.

Racing industry insiders have raised concerns that affordability checks will severely impact the industry. These survey results seem to support this notion, particularly in the absence of contradictory research.

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