Yaspa’s response to new gambling safety rules announced by the UKGC

Summary of the announcement

On 1 May 2024, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced the introduction of new rules designed to boost safety and consumer choice - which you can read in full here. The announcement follows a UK Government White Paper published in April 2023, calling for regulatory reform such as financial vulnerability checks, and reinforces the UKGC’s commitment to providing consumers with a safer gambling experience.

In their announcement, the UKGC proposed a series of measures regulating game design, marketing and on-premise age verification, and provided clarity on the implementation of light-touch financial risk checks and their expected thresholds. The Commission also confirmed plans to pilot frictionless financial risk assessments over a 6-month period.  

Low-risk checks

The statement from the UKGC further defined what their proposed ‘Light touch financial risk checks’ would consist of, and the threshold for applying them. Initially, from 30 August 2024, checks will be introduced for players making a net deposit of £500 on gambling in a month, reducing to £150 from February 2025 onwards. The source of these checks will be publicly available data but will omit personal details, such as postcode or job title, as set out in the UKGC’s update in September 2023. This implies that the checks at this lower-risk stage will come from County Court Judgements and bankruptcy orders.  

Frictionless affordability checks

UKGC say that the pilot of frictionless financial risk assessments will determine if enhanced, higher-risk checks will be fully implemented across the UK gambling industry. The announcement also confirmed that these enhanced checks (for which spend thresholds are expected to be higher) will only be deployed if the Commission is satisfied that data sharing will be frictionless for the majority of those being checked.  

Alongside the announcement, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) published the Code on Customer Checks on 1 May 2024, which will serve as an interim measure while the UKGC pilot frictionless enhanced risk checks. The code, which was developed in conjunction with the UKGC, requires voluntarily participating operators to undertake a risk assessment for players that have made a net deposit of over £5,000 (£2,500 for 18-24 year olds) in a month. To analyse player affordability, the BGC have outlined that risk assessments would have to include one or more of the following; a two-way live chat or phone call with a player to obtain information like annual salary or job title; open-source data, such as Companies House; or financial insights from regulated third parties. For players depositing £25,000 in any 12 month rolling period, operators can also include customer winnings and net position in their assessment. The BGC is also working with the UKGC to develop a new anti-money laundering code for frictionless alternatives to intrusive document checks. 

Yaspa’s take on the announcement

As a leading payments provider to the gambling industry, Yaspa has been following Safer Gambling developments closely. We welcome the UKGC’s pilot and considered approach to the implementation of new financial risk assessments, consistent with the proposals set out in the government’s white paper. It’s reassuring to see a commitment to ensuring that data can be gathered and shared on the majority of checked players in a frictionless manner before rules become permanent. This, in addition to the BGC’s interim Code on Customer Checks, points to a process that will have a positive outcome for the gambling industry; players will be safeguarded by the necessary protections without negatively impacting their experience with abrasive checks. 

In April 2024, Yaspa was awarded a grant by the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for a Safer Gambling platform - covered in more detail, here. Yaspa’s platform will combine payments and AI to carry out friction-free affordability checks across multiple gambling operators, using open banking data. Open banking was a method mooted by the UK government for such checks, and Yaspa’s platform will deploy the technology to ensure players can gamble safely while speeding up the onboarding process during player account creation and verification. 

Our aim at Yaspa is to create a user experience that enables easy data sharing, onboarding and payment processes - one that protects vulnerable players without adversely impacting the majority. Over the coming months, Yaspa will be engaging across the industry, with gambling operators, players and charities, to ensure that our Verification Plus product can unlock a safe and frictionless gambling experience for players. 

For more information about our Safer Gambling platform and how Verification Plus can help your business, get in touch. We’d love to hear your feedback and how we can support you.

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