ICO Backs New Data Sharing Schemes to Protect Gamblers from Harm

By | July 17, 2023
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The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has backed proposals for the financial sector to share data with gambling companies to protect customers from unaffordable losses.

In a letter to industry body UK Finance, the ICO has confirmed that data protection law does not stop gambling companies from conducting financial risk checks on customers, and that lenders can share people’s personal information – but this must be done transparently and proportionately.

“Problem gambling has devastating consequences for people’s finances, relationships and health. We are keen to see the financial sector share data to protect people from unaffordable losses and spiralling debt,” Stephen Almond, Executive Director of Regulatory Risk at the ICO, said.

The ICO has been working with the Gambling Commission on the design of privacy safeguards for financial risk checks. Gambling companies will only be permitted to use personal information they receive solely for the purpose of financial risk checks. And customers will need to be told that checks on their financial health may be undertaken where they incur significant losses.

The ICO has also lent its support to plans for gambling companies to share information about customers identified as high risk who are gambling across multiple sites. In a report, the ICO set out its advice to the Betting and Gaming Council on the necessary safeguards required to share personal data between different operators.

Stephen Almond, Executive Director of Regulatory Risk, said: “Data sharing can be a force for good, enabling organisations to protect people from gambling-related harm. We’ve been pleased to work with the Betting and Gaming Council through our Regulatory Sandbox to help them safeguard gamblers while upholding their rights to privacy.”

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