UK Affordability Checks Debate: Are They Meant to Remember the Face of Every Punter Who’s Placed a Bet?

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UK Parliament Gambling Affordability Checks Debate – comments from Felix Faulkner (pictured), Solicitor at Poppleston Allen

“There were many comments in the debate regarding whether these checks and the damage to the industry will drag the industry back to the pre-Gambling Act days when underground gambling was considerably more prominent.

“Whether that’s true or not, I can’t comment. However, I think it is fair to say that, currently, the proposed idea of enhanced affordability checks is a far way off the reality of implementation. Significant developments and detail are needed from the Gambling Commission as to exactly how this proposal will benefit both the industry and punters alike.

“The biggest risk that these checks present to the industry is to horse racing and on-course betting. How can the government expect people at an on-course stand with 30 seconds until the race starts to do affordability checks? How can they be expected to remember who’s put a bet on which horse? Are they meant to remember the face of every punter ahead of every race? In practice, this would be physically impossible to work with and will ruin the customer experience.

“The current proposal tabled by the Gambling Commission and the government is going to be very difficult to implement and it will be interesting to see exactly how they propose to get around that difficulty.

“The impact this has would be significant – and significantly detrimental – to both punters and the racing industry and create a huge amount of friction for everyone. This approach is fundamentally contrary to the ‘frictionless light touch’ approach tabled by Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy at the Gambling Commission, just last week.

“I would imagine it would put punters off making bets and, at the moment, I struggle to feasibly see a way for it to be implemented smoothly. At the moment, it is difficult to imagine the benefit for punters or for on-course bookmakers.”

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