The Gambling Commission is to conduct a pilot of proposed enhanced financial risk checks set out in the UK’s white paper.

Gambling Commission

The test phase will last between four and six months and will seek participation from a “selection of operators” and a “spread of different businesses” with “variation” in size, including betting companies and casinos.

Tim Miller, the UK regulator’s executive director of research and policy, added in a blog post that the decision to pilot enhanced financial risk checks – for “unusually high loss levels where the risks are greater” – comes after “many people” in the consultation supported the idea of testing “how the data-sharing works in practice.”

“Our approach is that consumers should not be affected during a pilot period to make sure that we can refine the data sharing processes before the assessments are rolled out in a live environment,” Miller said.

Gambling businesses will not be expected to act on the data they receive during the pilot but must remain compliant throughout and continue to implement consumer safety controls.

“Alongside the pilot, we will continue to gather data which will inform the final thresholds and definitions of loss or spend for implementation following the pilot period,” Miller said.

As well as a pilot for enhanced financial risk checks, the government is set to introduce frictionless, light-touch customer checks more quickly in two stages.

“These checks will identify vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts. They will focus solely on publicly available data and, following feedback through the consultation, will not require gambling businesses to consider an individual’s personal details such as postcode or job title,” Miller said.

The frictionless checks will firstly come into force at a higher threshold for a short period of time, before reverting to a lower threshold later in the year to “smooth implementation for customers,” he added.

A petition led by the horseracing industry to abolish the introduction of financial risk checks has forced a formal UK parliament debate, scheduled for Monday.

Miller said: “At the Commission we completely understand why there has been such interest in financial risk checks. But it should be remembered that protecting people who are vulnerable, while still affording the freedom of others to gamble safely, is complex and there is no single solution.”