The Problems With Affordability Checks

Betting Shop Staff

You’ll no doubt know that the Gambling Commission has imposed its largest ever fine on William Hill for allowing new customers to gamble large amounts of money in a very short period of time and for failures to guard against possible money laundering. The industry will no doubt be taking careful note of what’s happened in order to avoid similar fines.

You don’t need me to tell you that ‘affordability checks’ are a key issue in the betting industry. Considerable uncertainty exists around the extent to which chains should be performing checks on customers and it has been suggested that the Gambling Commission has left chains guessing as to what action they should be taking.

It’s quite clear that as requirements to conduct affordability checks tighten, sales revenue will fall; this means that chains have to address the conflict between meeting the requirements of the regulator and achieving their own revenue targets.

The key question for us is, where does this leave staff?

Members have reported numerous problems when carrying out affordability checks, ranging from dealing with angry and frustrated customers, to pressure from senior managers to ‘bend the rules’.

Staff are dealing with problems caused by affordability checks ‘on the front line’ and there’s a real danger that not only will they be blamed if sales fall; they could also be blamed for not meeting affordability check targets too. It’s a Catch-22 and a significant issue for people working in betting shops.

We want to gather as much evidence on this matter as possible so we can campaign on the issue with the chains, the Gambling Commission and MPs, to ensure members are treated fairly. We’ve prepared a short survey for you to tell us your experiences of dealing with affordability checks. We will publish the results of the survey, but it is entirely anonymous and you will not be identifiable in any way. Please do share the survey with your colleagues; the more responses we can gather the better.

Please click here to complete our survey.

If there’s a matter you want to raise with us, entirely confidentially of your employer, please remember you can email us at Our Advice Team are also available 24 hours a day on 01234 716005 (choose Option 1) or you can contact them via our website here.

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