British Gambling Minister Chris Philp said the government would look to implement an SCV (single customer view) and a soft affordability limit in its Gambling Act Review.
Philp, who was appointed as government minister for gambling in September, laid out the plans he has to implement his new role.
Philp stated that he has already spoken to a few people who have suffered gambling related harm. He hopes that by leading the Gambling Act Review, which will be launched in 2020, that he can protect his customers from incurring unaffordable costs.
In his first month, he met with a wide range of people who are involved in gambling and those working to prevent harm. These include clinicians as well as people that have personal experience. I’ve heard far too many tales about people who lost money that was clearly unaffordable, but operators didn’t stop them.
Through our review, we want to ensure that we do much more to help protect the minority of gambling addicts that are experiencing life-changing injuries and prevent other people from being in that situation.
A consultation was held on several topics including the limits of bets and spending, new advertising rules, and bonuses, and additional protections for young adults.
Philp stated that the consultation will end on March 31, 2021. The government plans to release a “white paper” outlining their reforms in the “coming months.”
Philp, who is Minister of Tech and Digital Economy in the United States government, said that a single view for customers would be an important part of their efforts to improve gambling safety.
Operators would be able to get a more comprehensive picture of the player’s history by using a single view customer (SCV), rather than just their account history. The operators could then examine the gambling expenditure of customers across multiple providers and decide if they are affordable. Philp stated that the Information Commissioner’s Office’s evaluation that this approach can be implemented without breaking data protection laws was a significant step forward.
Philp stated that it is vital to ensure data sharing takes place in a safe, secure and proportionate manner. I am pleased that the Commission worked with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which confirmed now that an integrated customer view is possible with these values as its foundation.
We know that data sharing in the financial sector is well-established. “I know that there are industry representatives in this audience, and I would like to make it clear to them: now is the right time to work with regulators on a working system.”
Philp also discussed the concept of “soft caps” for deposits. Players would be required to prove their affordability before they could spend more. In a consultation held in 2019 on remote customer interactions, the Gambling Commission proposed an affordability threshold of PS100 per monthly.
In May it released its action points on this subject. The cap was not included in its list of priorities.
Philp said that a cap on affordability may also be suitable, so long as it is set at more than PS100 per monthly.
He said that in order to prevent damage and be effective, the affordability check must be proportionate. As the Commission stated, requiring payslips and bank statements for every customer who spends PS100 is unwelcome. It’s disruptive, excessive, and out of proportion to the risk. There is an appropriate level.
The Commission is soon to publish further information on the Commission’s requirements for interventions, and we are continuing to work with them closely on affordability as we prepare to release our white paper.
Minister added that government is also looking at ways to improve the data capability of the Gambling Commission, so it can regulate better.
He said that they needed to have the power to control the huge and innovative gambling sector, and to be able to request and analyze bulk data on accounts from operators in order to determine if they are doing as they should under the licence conditions.
Philp also said that he would work closely with the new Gambling Commission chairman Marcus Boyle, and the acting CEO Andrew Rhodes. He stated that it will be a top priority to “ensure that they have the tools they need in order to maintain the licensing objectives”.
Philp said the Commission has made a few positive changes such as the ban of gambling using credit cards. However, he added that “on an everyday basis, I would like the Commission excel at holding the industry accountable”.
The Betting and Gaming Council, an industry group that represents the gambling and betting industries, said ahead of Philp’s speech that the government must put children’s protection at “front and center” in its white paper. The group highlighted the work of its own members in helping to reduce children’s gambling exposure and pointed out that unregulated operators do not follow many of its measures.
Philp, a backbench MP, was nominated to lead the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s gambling division in September. He was a MP on the backbenches who had campaigned to tighten regulation for fixed-odds gambling terminals before the decision in 2018 to reduce the maximum bet allowed.
It was a dramatic change from the predeseccor John Whittingdale, who led a group that recommended an increase in machine proliferation before he took over gambling.