Racing TV’s Nick Luck pressed Chief Executive of the UK’s Gambling Commission Andrew Rhodes on the changes in customer checks that operators should look out for.

Rhodes began by reminding that gambling harm is real and people suffer from it, after which he called for collective action for a positive impact in the area. 

He said: “The problems we have to solve here are the sorts of cases we’ve been seeing in the last few years that really haven’t been improving. This is people losing amounts of money well beyond their means. 

“When I say that, I’m not talking about a moral judgement on what you can spend your money on. I’m talking about people losing £245k when they earn £30k, somebody losing £70k in 10 hours. Everybody agrees on that.

“And remember, 22.5 million people a year will gamble on a regular basis in this country, it’s the largest online gambling industry in the world. Most people will not be affected but here is a proportion of people who will be and that’s in the hundreds of thousands. 

“That’s where we want the industry to be focused – in making sure that they are reducing the level of risk for consumers.”

Luck then followed up with a question about what has the UKGC mandated when it comes to advising bookmakers on affordability checks.

Rhodes continued: “What we’ve said is ‘you have to make sure that you have policies and procedures in place that guard against risk for consumers’. All operators have to meet that requirement. What we’re trying to do is offer advice on different things the industry might consider.

“Each operator is also different. We’ve got operators who’ll have very large amounts of money and that’s fine, so long they’ve got procedures in place to manage that. We’ve also got operators in the industry who will be high-frequency, low-spend.

“Operators have to undertake checks or tests when they feel a consumer has reached a certain level of spend to satisfy themselves that they can go beyond that,” which Rhodes added is not the only thing they expect from operators and went on to list the others

He also reiterated that all of this relates to a proportion that “will be less than 10% of people who are engaged in gambling on a regular basis”. 

Andrew Rhodes: Gambling harm cases “haven’t been improving in the last few years”