The GB Gambling Commission has published an open letter to Racing Post readers in an attempt to “clear up misunderstandings” about the ongoing consultation regarding proposed financial risk checks.

The regulator accused the racing and sports betting publication of providing readers with “imbalanced stories”. Additionally, the Commission said that the newspaper had “refused” to publish a letter from the authority responding to the coverage.

Financial risk checks – also known as affordability checks – have been one of the most contentious topics included in the Gambling Act review white paper since its publication in April.

In response to the letter, Racing Post editor Tom Kerr released a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We told the GC we were unwilling to publish a letter if it misrepresented disagreements over our coverage as errors of fact,” he wrote.

“That is precisely what this letter does. It simply repeats contentious assertions from the white paper and consultation without engaging with the numerous concerns raised by Racing Post readers and contributors. In fact, it dismisses those concerns as groundless.”

Credit checks

In the Commission’s open letter, it insisted it is not true that “a good proportion of gambling consumers would have to be handing over payslips or bank statements when they want to place a bet”.

Only 0.3% of account holders would be asked to “directly provide the additional financial information that operators are already requiring of some customers”. The GC added that around 90% of financial risk assessments would be via credit reference agencies and open-source banking.

“Little of the commentary specifies that these proposals relate to online gambling only,” the Commission stated.

“There is often the assumption that credit checks impact a credit rating and could damage credit scores. […] These soft credit checks will not.”

Earlier this month, Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said that affordability checks had dominated responses to the Gambling Act review consultations so far.

Tackling “misinformation”

Rhodes recently stated the regulator had seen “a significant amount of misinformation… in the media and on social media”. Accordingly, the Commission published a series of questions and answers on its website to “aid responses during… the consultation”.

Last month, Rhodes criticised the “misuse of gambling statistics” to support particular political outcomes.

The key points of the proposals include “frictionless financial risk assessments for an estimated 3% of gambling accounts”.

A further proposal consists of light-touch financial vulnerability checks “using publicly available data” on 20% of accounts.

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