Last week, the UK Government ensured that the affordability checks proposed by the UK Gambling Commission are supposed to go hand in hand with the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The affordability checks are included in the key measures that are supposed to be reviewed during the evaluation of the gambling regulation laws in the UK.
Other news from the gambling industry in the UK include the reported record-high sales number for the National Lottery during the global pandemic. Many believe that the profit of over £1 billion is due to Camelot taking advantage of the situation during the lockdowns and offering highly addicting games.
UK Government Ensures Affordability Checks Will Harmonise With Gambling Act Review
The affordability checks were proposed in a Gambling Commission consultation on remote customer interactions. During that consultation that ended in February, the regulatory body suggested that monthly losses of a minimum of £100 would require bettors to provide proof of their income.
As many believed the proposed minimum requiring affordability checks is too low, some concerns were raised. British racing companies were worried that implementing such a measure would cost the industry a yearly loss of at least £60 million. Experts from this sector believed that such an intrusive measure would discourage most bettors from placing wagers, leading to massive losses for the industry.
John Whittingdale, minister for gambling and lotteries, ensured that any affordability checks that would be implemented would be in harmony with the ongoing Gambling Act review. Meanwhile, Scott Benton, the MP for Blackpool South and the chair of the betting and gaming all-party parliamentary group, criticised the affordability checks. He ensured that instead of solving the issue with problem gambling, such a measure could stop the overall gambling in the country.
Whittengdale ensured that the government is investigating the potential effect of implementing stricter controls on online gambling. He also added that it will be assessed whether a greater control will be required at a greater level or more so on personal account levels. Whittengdale stated that the UK Gambling Commission is also going through a review. He ensured that any affordability checks will be implemented to lessen any potential gambling-related harm and will be harmonised with the rest of the Gambling Act review.
National Lottery Marks Record Sales Thanks to Vulnerable Players
Although the National Lottery company Camelot enjoyed sales of over £1 billion during the lockdown, many criticised it for the way this profit was achieved. In order to attract more players, the National Lottery was heavily promoting the so-called pay-to-play games that can be highly addicting.
During the lockdown period in 2020, the National Lottery company Camelot saw a surge of 50% in sales year over year, as stated by the Daily Telegraph. The so-called instant win games were the biggest contributor to the massive jump in sales, with a pay-to-play Monopoly version also being a part of the successful National Lottery sales.
While 30p in every pound spent on the Lotto game goes towards a charity, only 10p in every pound wagered on instant-win games is donated to a certain charity. This was one of the reasons why Camelot was criticised for the way it manipulated vulnerable players via highly addicting games.
According to the ex-Tory leader, Iain Duncan, the National Lottery would promote such games as a great way to donate to a charity while playing harmless games. Instant win games, however, can be very addicting and are far from helping to fund a good cause by playing the Lottery.
The timing of such accusations could not be worse as Camelot is about to apply for a renewal of its National Lottery license. Earlier this year, the operator was criticised by several MPs since it was found to promote itself as a company supporting good causes. In reality, Camelot is operating the National Lottery, with some of its profit going towards certain charities.
It was also revealed that Camelot sponsored the ads on The House magazine, which consists of MPs’ publications. This was considered as an attempt to convince lawmakers to renew its lottery license. This provoked a group of MPs to address the issue of the operator misguiding players to participate in the National Lottery to help charitable causes. Some MPs are concerned that Camelot will be granted a licence to operate the National Lottery for the fourth time, without giving any other bidders the chance to participate in the competition.