Ipsos research explores public perceptions towards proposed gambling financial risk checks

The survey explored public response to the financial risk checks proposed in a recent White Paper, finding broad support, with some concern for privacy and effectiveness.

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  • Steven Ginnis Public Affairs
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The Gambling Commission recently completed a consultation on the requirement for gambling companies to conduct financial checks at certain accumulations of losses. These checks were designed to prevent those who gamble online from experiencing harm through an accumulation of unaffordable losses. To help inform their response to the consultation, GambleAware commissioned Ipsos to undertake polling research to explore public perceptions of the proposed checks. 

The survey uncovered perceptions towards the two-tier checks proposed within the Gambling Commission consultation: light touch financial vulnerability checks to identify customers who may be particularly vulnerable, and enhanced financial risk assessments conducted at unusually high loss levels where the risks are greater. These two options have associated threshold amounts varying from £125 to £2,000 within specified timeframes (from a 24-hour to 12-month period) which, if exceeded, will trigger the checks. Further information about the proposals put forward in the White Paper can be found here.

Overall, the findings show that the public are positive about the general principle of the financial checks. There is broad public support for the introduction of these checks despite some concerns on privacy and being deterred from gambling in the future. The findings also show that any future implementation would benefit from clear information on data use and the rationale behind any proposed threshold amounts.

Key findings: 

  • The public support both proposals in principle: around three in five adults agreed that they support the financial risk checks in principle (61% light touch checks, 57% enhanced checks). Most thought the proposed checks would reduce unaffordable losses among those who gamble, and reduce the amount of people experiencing financial harms from gambling. 
  • There is some concern and scepticism regarding privacy and potential effectiveness of the checks: Concern that the checks would be an invasion of privacy was higher for the enhanced checks (40% vs 32% for light touch checks). There was also some scepticism about the effectiveness of these schemes in reality, with concern that people will find a way around these checks.
  • Those experiencing ‘problem gambling’* have a stronger and more varied reaction to the proposed checks: over half of those who experiencing ‘problem gambling’ support the proposed checks (58% for enhanced checks, 54% light touch checks). They were also more likely than the public overall to associate both financial risk checks options with both positive and negative words from a prompted list. Privacy concerns and feelings of being ‘put off’ gambling are also higher among those experiencing ‘problem gambling’. 
  • While most people agree with the financial risk checks in principle, many find it difficult to know what an appropriate loss threshold should be: around two in five adults (38% to 43%) were unsure what amount the threshold should be to trigger the checks irrespective of timeframe within which the financial checks will be implemented. When prompted, the proposed light touch threshold amounts were more in line with public perceptions than the proposed thresholds for enhanced checks.
  • Few adults who claim to have gambled in the last 12 months think they will be affected by the proposed financial checks: a minority of those who have gambled in the last 12 months said they have lost the proposed threshold amounts within their attributed timeframes (c.10% for light touch checks, c.5% for enhanced checks). Around a third of those who have gambled in the last 12 months said they do not gamble online, so there is potential that a large proportion of the gambling population might not be flagged through these solely online checks.
  • Most adults expect gambling operators to take action if individuals do not pass the financial checks: at least three quarters of the public welcomed a mix of contact and action from gambling operators to reduce risk of further financial loss if a customer fails the checks (81% enhanced checks, 79% light touch checks). No one action was considered the most appropriate but the public are in favour of various forms of support.  

* defined as PGSI 8+ on the Problem Gambling Severity Index

Technical note
Ipsos surveyed 4,170 adults aged 18-75 across Great Britain through the Ipsos iSay online panel. The fieldwork dates were 29th September - 4th October 2023. The data was weighted to the known adult population of Great Britain, by age, gender, social grade and work status.

The author(s)
  • Steven Ginnis Public Affairs

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