Credit checks on bettors carried out by bookmakers

Bettors’ credit checks, conducted by bookies to make sure they can afford to place bets, are one step closer under proposed laws to prevent vulnerable bettors from suffering big losses

  • It follows a fine of £19.2 million on William Hill for allowing customers to pay without checks
  • The strictest measures are expected to be relaxed amid industry lobbying

Gamblers will have credit checks done on them by bookmakers to ensure they can afford to place bets under proposed new laws to prevent people from making big losses.

The move, announced later this month in a much-anticipated white paper on gambling, follows a £19.2 million fine over William Hill to get customers to spend tens of thousands of pounds without checks.

Critics have demanded restrictions on sponsorship and advertising, but some of the strictest measures are expected to be relaxed amid fierce industry lobbying.

Last year, the Mail on Sunday revealed that ‘payability checks’ were likely to be introduced as part of the gambling reform measures.

Details have yet to be published, but it is believed that automatic background checks will take place on gamblers who spend moderate amounts. These would take a few seconds and could involve examining indicators of financial vulnerability, such as district court debt judgments.

(Stock Photo) Bettors will have credit checks done by bookies to make sure they can afford to place bets

Appropriate actions that should be taken if risks are identified are likely to be decided after further consultation.

It is likely that higher stakes require improved controls.

The risk of problem gamblers moving to other online sites to circumvent restrictions means that some form of industry-wide data sharing could be introduced.

This would provide regulated companies with information about the activities of all gambling operators without compromising the privacy rights of the gambler.

Some operators have already started implementing measures to protect vulnerable customers.

Last week, the Gambling Commission imposed a record fine on William Hill.

The commission found a series of shortcomings of William Hill brands, including their bookies, and online casino site Mr Green.

The regulator found that one customer was allowed to open an account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks, and another customer could deposit and lose £70,134 in a month.