UK White Paper To Include Affordability Checks & Statutory RET Levy April 5, 2023 Mike Ashley

UK White Paper To Include Affordability Checks & Statutory RET Levy

united kingdomSummary

  • The UK govt. has reportedly opted for affordability checks that are easy for operators and customers
  • The mandatory RET levy is also expected to be included in the White Paper
  • The White Paper could be published before the end of April 2023

The UK government is reportedly pushing ahead with affordability measures in the upcoming gambling review White Paper, however, the processes involved in conducting the checks will be simpler for operators and less intrusive for customers.

No Difficult Requirements for Affordability Checks

According to a report by The Sunday Times, affordability checks would involve two stages – the first one would be for players gambling “moderate” amounts of money, and they would be subject to background checks. For the second stage, gambling firms would perform enhanced checks on customers spending bigger amounts.

Customers would not be required to present documents like payslips or bank statements to ensure an easy, non-complicated process, the Sunday Times report stated.

The government would also implement a single customer view system that would alert an operator to customers who have been banned by another operator over the risks associated with their level of gambling. This would prevent blocked customers from shifting to another operator.

BGC Calls for Protection for Land-Based Operators

Another key measure likely to be included in the White Paper is the widely-debated mandatory levy for operators that would fund problem gambling research, education, and treatment (RET). It would effectively replace the current voluntary system which critics say lacks transparency, is unpredictable, and does not provide sufficient funding for RET initiatives.

Proponents of the statutory levy, set at one percent of gross gaming yield (GGY), claimed it would raise £150 million a year in RET funding.

Reacting to recent reports that the government would proceed with implementing the statutory RET levy, Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said they would support the levy, provided that the government comes up with additional measures to protect the interests of land-based operators.

The organization said the government must take into account the higher costs associated with the operations of casinos, bingo halls, and betting shops – businesses that are still trying to recover from the pandemic.

The upcoming White Paper is also expected to include stake limits of between £2 and £5 for online slots and the establishment of a Gambling Ombudsman, which is also backed by the BGC.

The UK Gambling Act Review was launched in December 2020 but the White Paper has been delayed numerous times due to changes in leadership and disagreements on the major reforms that must be implemented for the gambling industry.

The parliament will return from Easter recess on April 17 and the White Paper could finally be released by the end of the month.

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