The GCF write to Betfair to raise concerns about the increasing number of affordability checks

What are Harms markers and are they working?

The GCF have written to Betfair, the Gambling Commission and DCMS Ministers to raise concerns about the increasing number of affordability checks being applied by the company. The e-mail below sent to the Group Chief Executive outlines the reports in the press regarding the increasing number of people going public on affordability checks on their accounts, and raises the issues that follow from these checks which have not been mandated by the GC.

The email sent is below:

‘We, the Gamblers Consumer Forum, are writing to express serious concerns on behalf of gamblers who are facing restrictions on their betting activity with your company.

You will no doubt be aware of recent stories appearing in the Racing Post regarding affordability checks being applied to wealthy racehorse owners who enjoy betting as part of their ownership experience. Names such as Grade 1 winning owner Carl Hinchy, professional gambler of many decades experience Alan Potts, retired racehorse trainer Mick Channon and Phil Cunningham have publicly highlighted that they have been subject to checks, with the latter revealing he is being offered accounts by black market bookmakers.

As a group, we have campaigned and written at length about the impractical and sub-clinical application of affordability checks, which should be noted have not been mandated according to comments made by the Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission in February. It would appear therefore that there is a great deal of confusion, as it is clear from press reports, and from information being passed to us by your customers, that the affordability checks are being applied in a crude and inappropriate manner, even where there is little to no evidence of gambling harm markers being triggered.

Whilst it is of course up to you how you run your own private company, we would ask that you consider the wider impact on Betfair’s actions. In racing for instance, many of those who bet are subject to restrictions on their betting with conventional bookmakers and the exchange offers the only way to bet for some. By driving away their business with unnecessary and unmandated checks, people are either giving up betting together the sport of racing altogether or using the black market. It is clear many gamblers will be unwilling to provide documentation for affordability purposes, which is hugely detrimental for racing, the levy, and the taxpayer.

We are copying in the Gambling Commission, Betting and Gaming Council and Ministers at DCMS as part of our wider campaign to highlight the vast negative implications of affordability checks.

We hope that you review the processes that are ensnaring those who are at minimal risk of harm, and reconsider what appears to be a policy of non-mandated affordability checks of customers who are key to the survival of British racing as a competitive product.’


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