Horse Racing

Can the UK regulator be trusted with gambling reform?


If the congressional rumors are true, we can soon do more than just dream about a blank sheet of paper.

Three years after the Gambling Act review was first published and two years since the call for evidence, the government’s market reform proposals are understood to be near.

The fact that we are approaching the beginning of the end (or the end of the beginning) of this stretch must have been a source of solace for weary participants.

What is less positive is the suggestion that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is charting a light path on legislation, with implementation responsibility largely delegated to the Gambling Commission – a organization has been repeatedly criticized when competence and integrity are concerned.

The National Audit Office, the congressional Public Accounts Committee, and the House of Commons DCMS selection committee have all offered dry assessments of the committee in recent years.

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Party-wide parliamentary groups on (respectively) harm related to gambling, betting and gaming have rated the regulator “not fit for purpose”, and the Social Markets Organization has called for a resolution. this organ body.

Critics point to the collapse of the Football Index and the lack of oversight of the National Strategy to reduce gambling harms (including the distribution of £40m without assessment) as examples. on poor performance by regulators.

Withdrawal without explanation
In September, the commission suspended guidance on interacting with customers remotely just 10 days before it went into effect, leaving licensees to follow a set of guidelines that didn’t exist.

The annual assurance statement (which the 40 largest licensees were expected to complete by mid-December) was withdrawn without explanation.

Requests for regulatory clarity are often denied, leaving stakeholders of all shades frustrated with the non-interaction culture.

Beyond efficiency concerns, the committee appears to have abandoned any pretense of ethical neutrality over staking, avoiding customer-centric market regulation in favor of the health campaign. public to eliminate harmful behavior at all costs.

Part of the problem was that the committee downplayed the definition of harm to the point of absurdity, saying that people would be harmed if they chose to spend money on horses instead of going to the movies or if they spent less time on people they care about. is the result of bingo.

In a similar way, the committee distorted the meaning of vulnerability, which the Gambling Act clearly purports to refer to a special status in adults (similar to child vulnerability). ).

However, under the regulator’s revisionism, young people are considered vulnerable, but so are older people.

The new world is not so brave
A person is vulnerable if they are in “poor physical health” (NHS Digital estimates that 43% of adults have a chronic illness); “poor mental health” (17% of adults with a common mental disorder); if a person loses a loved one (about 15% of us every year—National Bereavement Alliance); “responsible to care” (13%—Carers UK); have “dyslexia” (10%—NHS); or if one has “a level of confidence or risk tolerance above the norm”—which one could argue applies to all but the most conservative bettors.

The committee’s less-than-brave new world seems reserved only for the vulnerable and the victims whose risk is attributed to a unified negative aspect.

Xe buýt cá cược đang hoạt động<br /> Curragh . Racecourse<br /> 26.06.2021″ src=”https://cms-images.bloodhorse.com/i/bloodhorse-images/2021/06/66ce5b669c644a98b82adaa040834762.jpg?preset=medium” style=”border-width: 0px;” title=” Betting bus in action<br /> Curragh . Racecourse<br /> June 26, 2021″/><figcaption><small>Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post</small></p>
<p>Betting bus tote at Curragh . Racecourse</p>
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<p>Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the regulator came (slowly but accurately) with the view that “reliable data does not exist” to support the Department’s claims Public Health England on the social and economic costs of gambling harms.</p>
<p>Instead of informing the government of its concerns, it opted to remain hidden, even after the Department of Health and Social Care admitted PHEs had made a “mistake” and committed to an expected review. announced at the end of last month.</p>
<p>The Committee is aware that PHE has taken a stance on banning betting (it advocates “an approach similar to how we deal with tobacco consumption”) but continues to support its work.</p>
<p>Perhaps most worrisome is the disclosure — again forced through the Freedom of Information Act — that the regulator automatically has a bias against representations from its licensees. themselves.</p>
<p>In reviewing the PHE report, it stated that “a full economic assessment of the gambling industry can be politically awkward as it would fund the work of determining the interests of gambling” before added, “we’re likely to criticize any industry-sponsored attempt to estimate the gambling industry’s interests.”</p>
<p>Last month, in a speech to betting executives, the committee’s Andrew Rhodes appeared to have realized his organization had strayed from a straight and narrow path.</p>
<p>In stating their aspiration to “become a trusted voice on gambling, as a fair regulator” and to “make no moral judgments about the amount of money spent on gambling”, perhaps people admitted that such things are not always true in society.  past.</p>
<p>As a statement of intent, the speech offers hope for a return to a more balanced approach.  Over the next few years, commissions will have a significant effect on how betting customers are treated.</p>
<p>Much now depends on whether it is aware of its role as a market regulator or as a guardian of ethics.  As we brace ourselves for a new round of consultations on betting reform, the question of who regulates the regulator is rarely so important.</p>
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