OLBG study raises concerns over affordability checks

By Robert Fletcher

More than 65% of British consumers who bet up to £1,000 (€1,143/$1,247) per month would not be willing to provide documents as part of affordability checks, according to new research from sports betting community OLBG.

A YouGov survey of 1,007 players found that 65.4% of bettors would be unwilling to supply payslips, bank statements or similar documents if asked by a gambling operator, with 34.6% saying they would provide this information.

This percentage differed depending on the spending range players fell into, with the consumers least willing to provide documents spending less than £5 a month at 75.5%. The most willing group (50.4%) spent on average between £301 and £500 each month.

Only 16.2% of players provided the relevant documentation when asked, although 18.5% said they would supply this if asked. Some 29.2% of respondents said they had not been asked and would not bet if they were, with a further 27.4% saying they were not asked, and if they were, would not provide the information and instead bet with another licensed operator.

The survey also found that 3.9% switched to a different, licensed operator when asked to provide documents, while 0.9% bet with an unlicensed operator after being faced with affordability checks. A further 3.2% would also wager with an unlicensed business if they were asked for such information.

Only 0.8% of players stopped betting when asked to provide documents.

“Most bettors who have been asked to provide documents have done so,” OLBG chief executive Richard Moffat said. “More importantly, very few of those who were asked stopped gambling or went to the black market, the latter being the worst unintended consequence of measures aimed at making gambling more responsible.

“However, there is a stark difference between those who have been asked and those who haven’t in terms of willingness.”

The survey comes ahead of the publishing of the much-anticipated white paper on gambling in Great Britain, with mandatory affordability checks mooted among the potential new laws for the gambling industry.

“Many players reported either having already moved to a different licensed operator or being willing to do so over affordability checks,” Moffat said.

“Therefore, there is now a big question mark over what might happen if affordability checks become mandatory and all licensed operators have to impose them at certain levels.”

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