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Compliance Updates

Bet on Compliance: Navigating the Stakes with the UK’s Affordability Checks

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By Isabelle Zanzer, Senior Regulatory Compliance Specialist at ComplianceOne Group

Feeling like the deck is stacked against you with all these talks of financial checks in gambling? Wondering if this new game plan will leave your privacy on a losing streak? If so, no need to bet on uncertainty anymore. We’re here to deal you in on the UK’s latest gamble towards responsible betting. Let’s shuffle through the details and lay our cards on the table, as we make sure you’re holding a winning hand in understanding what’s in play. Ready to roll the dice and dive in? Follow me.

On July 26, 2023, the UK Gambling Commission launched consultations on proposed reforms in the Gambling White Paper, focusing on areas like direct marketing, age verification, game design, and financial risk checks. This article delves into the latter, highlighting new financial vulnerability and risk assessments to safeguard customers.

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The UK’s consultation introduces two checks for gambling: light-touch financial vulnerability checks and detailed financial risk assessments. The first tier of checks is designed to identify financial vulnerabilities such as bankruptcy orders or significant debts, using publicly available data. The second tier involves enhanced financial risk assessments triggered by significant losses, requiring more comprehensive scrutiny of a customer’s financial situation.

Thus, in simple terms, what is going to happen at the heart of the UKGC’s new measures are two-tiered affordability checks designed to assess the financial vulnerability and risk of consumers engaging in online gambling. The first tier involves unintrusive checks that will be triggered when a customer reaches a specified net loss within a rolling period, using publicly available data to identify potential financial vulnerabilities. To dive a little deeper, this check will be conducted if a customer either has net losses of £125 in a rolling 30 days or £500 within a rolling 365 days. It would need to include “at a minimum a customer-specific public record information check for significant indicators of potential financial vulnerability”, including whether the customer is subject to things such as a bankruptcy order, county court judgment, or individual voluntary arrangement. Net loss would be defined as loss of deposited monies with an operator, not counting restacked winnings or bonus funds.

The second tier represents a more detailed assessment of financial risk, which is activated at higher loss thresholds. A comprehensive financial review is required for gamblers with significant losses, examining their financial data including credit status and spending. If third-party data is unavailable, operators may directly seek customer consent for access, ensuring a thorough understanding of financial health.

The gambling industry’s reception of these checks has been cautiously optimistic, particularly regarding the initial, less invasive tier. However, the prospect of more detailed financial assessments has sparked debate, not only among operators but also among consumers wary of privacy infringement.

As the UK gambling sector adapts to these new regulations, the challenge will be to strike an optimal balance between safeguarding consumers and maintaining the operational viability of gambling platforms. The pilot study represents a critical step in this process, offering valuable insights into the practical implications of affordability checks and the potential need for adjustments in response to industry feedback and consumer concerns.

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The outcome of the pilot study and subsequent parliamentary debates are pivotal in shaping the future of affordability checks in the UK gambling sector. As operators, regulators, and consumers navigate these changes, the overarching goal remains clear: to foster a safer, more responsible gambling environment that protects consumers from financial harm while ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth.

Striking the right balance in the new UK gambling regulations is like walking a tightrope. With the introduction of light-touch and in-depth financial risk assessments, operators may face the challenge of protecting players without overstepping into their privacy. These two-tiered checks aim to shield those at risk, using both public data and deeper financial insights.

The key here for operators will be to navigate these waters carefully, ensuring player safety while keeping the game fair and enjoyable. Now, when trying to find a balancing act, we need to consider the following:

  1. Regulatory Compliance Risk: Reviewing the existing practices against the UKGC’s affordability check guidelines, identifying discrepancies, and recommending changes to align with the new regulations.
  2. Data Privacy and Security Risk: Evaluating the ability to handle and protect sensitive financial data in line with GDPR and other data protection laws.
  3. Operational Risk: Assessing the impact of the new checks on daily operations and customer interactions.
  4. Financial Risk: Analysing the potential financial implications of the affordability checks on revenue and customer base.
  5. Reputational Risk: Considering the public and customer perception of the affordability checks, especially regarding privacy concerns, the key here, like in all relationships, is communication. For example, it is estimated that just the very highest spending 3 percent of accounts would undergo financial risk assessments. Most financial risk assessments – at least 80 percent – would be carried out through credit reference agencies. The checks are expected to be frictionless and not interrupt the customer journey unless concerns are raised. It is estimated that a further 10 percent of risk assessments will be done through limited data-sharing through third-party open-source banking, which is similarly straightforward from a customer perspective.

Finding this balance involves a tailored approach as one offered by ComplianceOne group, whereby operators can personalize checks based on individual player profiles, ensuring those at higher risk receive the attention they need while others continue to enjoy their play with minimal interruption. It’s about creating a safety net that catches those in need without trapping everyone else in unnecessary checks. The key to a winning strategy is the execute this balance, and understanding what is at stake: Reputation, Sustainability and Trust.

The post Bet on Compliance: Navigating the Stakes with the UK’s Affordability Checks appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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4ThePlayer Approved for License by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board!

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4ThePlayer.com is delighted to announce the latest development in its expansion across the United States; in a recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the Company’s participation in the Commonwealth’s iGaming market.

This achievement marks a key step in their strategic US market expansion and underscores their commitment to growing their presence in the regulated US market.

Pennsylvania is the fourth market, following New Jersey, Michigan, and Connecticut, to license and embrace their player-centric and entertainment-focused games.

An exciting portfolio, featuring top-performing titles such as 4 Fantastic Lobsters and 9k Yeti will soon be launched in Pennsylvania and live across the company’s impressive customer list.

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Chris Ash, the Business Development Director and co-founder of 4ThePlayer.com said: “I am thrilled we can bring our unique gaming experience to the players of Pennsylvania. After the success we have seen with these titles in other states, we are excited for players in Pennsylvania to play them!”

Pennsylvania’s online casino market has been showing a steady growth trajectory with iGaming revenue 40.5% higher at $184.9m, compared to $131.6m in 2023 with online slots revenue alone jumping 35.6% to $125.9m.

4ThePlayer games will be available in Pennsylvania via Gaming Realms, 4ThePlayer’s trusted platform partner.

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WorldMatch Certifies Games for the Philippines

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WorldMatch has announced the release of the first batch of its certified games for the Philippines market. This significant milestone marks a crucial step in the company’s global expansion strategy and commitment to providing high-quality gaming experiences to Filipino players.

The initial batch, comprising carefully selected games certified to meet the regulatory standards of the Philippines, promises to offer a wide variety of entertainment options for players in the country. From classics to modern titles, each game has been designed to deliver an engaging and enjoyable experience for users.

“This is an exciting moment for us. We are thrilled to bring our expertise and innovation to the Philippines market and collaborate with brand new partners to deliver extraordinary gaming experiences to local players,” said Xhuljana Demerxhiu, Head of Sales at WorldMatch.

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The post WorldMatch Certifies Games for the Philippines appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Compliance Updates

NIGC Announces Acting Chair

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The National Indian Gaming Commission announced the President’s appointment of Associate Commissioner Sharon M. Avery as Acting Chair of the Agency, effective May 15, 2024. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently appointed Avery to a three-year term as Associate Commissioner, effective May 6, 2024. Avery will serve both as Associate Commissioner and Acting Chair until a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed Chair is in place.

As Acting Chair, Avery has the same statutory authority to lead the Agency and take official actions as a Senate-confirmed appointee.

“I am humbled the administration has entrusted me with the distinguished opportunity to serve as the NIGC Acting Chair. In this capacity, and to the best of my abilities, I will diligently execute my duties and responsibilities designated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to continue the Agency’s regulatory oversight of tribal gaming facilities without disruption, until a permanent Chair has been confirmed,” said Avery.

Avery is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. She has been with the NIGC for over four years where she has served as an Associate General Counsel in the NIGC Office of General Counsel. Before joining the NIGC, Avery served for more than 10 years in the legal department for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Most recently, she served as the Tribe’s General Counsel for Tribal Operations.

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