David Clifton, CDC: The inevitability of affordability in safer gambling

Affordability has been at the heart of long-term debate and controversy throughout the course of the Gambling Act review.

With the White Paper judgement due soon – according to the government – some are anticipating a need for greater data usage to gain insight into customer behaviour and certain individuals’ financial circumstances.

David Clifton, Director of Clifton Davies Consultancy (CDC), spoke to Jessie Sale at BOSE about the changes in the industry to ensure bettors are gambling more responsibly, with a particular focus on how much an individual can afford.

Clifton however suggested that this could become an infringement of a person’s freedom, with data being collected across a broader spread of operators rather than a singular one.

The Director said: “Affordability is a hugely complex subject. If you were to go to a mortgage broker, and you wanted to have a mortgage, you would expect in those circumstances that you would need to prove your income and show what other assets you perhaps have available.

Clifton highlighted how this situation is already now arising, due to the affordability requirements of gambling commission, some prospective punters are is going to have to prove that they can afford to gamble.

He continued: “That might have very legitimate concern, if someone is evidently going to be gambling beyond their means. But it is also going to have a big effect on a person’s ability to choose how much they want to spend.

“If for instance, someone wanted to spend more than £100 in one month on gambling, then they would have to show that they can afford that. We are hopefully going to get a lot more certainty on where this is going to go next.”

Moving on, when asked of the betting sponsorship ban on football clubs, Clifton noted that there has been increasing concerns raised that partnerships between operators and clubs may have a contributory effect on problem gambling, as well as exposing children to betting content.

“Although there has been no evidence from research that this is the case, that does not mean that there is not concern that nevertheless for political reasons we could find that a sponsorship ban is imposed by the government,” he explained.

“As matters stand, I think that on balance, it’s probably unlikely that will happen. Indications that have been reported back so far is that there will be pressure on Premier League clubs that they are to cut their ties with gambling companies.

“But I anticipate that we will still see, in the Championship level and below, football clubs still being allowed to receive that sort of income which is being regarded by many in the sports sector as a very valuable means of obtaining funding for grassroots sports and those who are not at top-flight level.”

Clifton, who is also a Licensory Expert for SBC, pointed to his monthly SBC column for updates on the Gambling Act review.

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