The Gambling Act white paper explains why it is better sooner than later

The Gambling Act white paper explains why it is better sooner than later

You would be forgiven for starting to see things during the record-breaking heat in the UK this week.

The industry should push for quicker publication of the Gambling Act white paper, for example, according to iGB.

If you want to see a review that will come as close to banning gambling as possible, you need to publish the white paper. It could be easy for those who support a healthy industry to want the government to stall for as long as possible.

That seems to be the way it has shaken out. Reformers have staked out a position calling for movement in the review, and the industry has fallen to the other side of the debate, which has slowed down the government’s ability to tackle a range of challenges.

It is not always wise to assume a view based on opponents’ positions. It is time for the industry to allow the Gambling Act review to get to its next step and work on improvements there.

The opening scene was not the closing scene

Some of the reported measures, such as the affordability checks coming in at just $125, could be improved based on how they have been presented so far.

This is a good place to reflect on what the white paper will be and what it isn’t.

This weekend, DCMS published a white paper on loot boxes. There is a lot of guidance in the document, but it is not very far from regulation.

There is still a long way to go before a white paper becomes law, and the loot box edition was this way for a reason.

There will be plenty of opportunities for the industry to have its say in what comes next, but the place for that may now be in the true legislative process in Westminster.

The industry can really think about having its loudest say in this area, where more specifics need to be hashed out.

We did not have enough experts

Reformers can call for general ideas to tackle areas where they have recognised high risks of harm, but only those with industry experience can truly understand the specifics of what new laws should look like. To help create affordability checks that prevent harmful gambling without pushing customers to sites with fewer protections, the industry can offer its expertise on the customer journey.

With those who will have the final say directly responsible to their voters, all of this can be conducted relatively openly. Even if it means concessions in areas where reform is popular, the industry can make its case to the public and focus on avoiding measures such as those involving widespread sharing of bank statements.

Businesses face uncertainty that may be worse than the impact of the review because of the debate hidden from view. Operators have made efforts to pre-empt rules, but with little clarity on what they are doing.

The financial sector has already been spooked by the uncertainty, as banks struggled to sell on debt owed by 888 without knowing what will happen to the market that is now comfortably its largest. An extra reason for investors to have their doubts is not ideal.

The window of possible reforms is extremely wide, and as long as that happens, those pushing for the most stringent measures will be the ones receiving a platform to discuss changes. It is not possible for the industry to continue lending legitimacy to ideas like a marketing ban.

Some corners of the media draw up conspiracy theories based on tenuous past links, in which the betting and gaming sector secretly pulls the strings of the Cabinet Office.

With every delay, the industry is presumed to exert more influence to get its way, giving fuel to the reform side of the debate, who are handed a media platform every time the document is pushed back.

The industry will not accept anything that could disrupt short-term profits.

Some reforms make sense and can be accepted by most of the industry, but they have concerns about certain proposals that would be counter productive.

The industry can show it is serious about sensible reform by welcoming the next phase of the review, and taking steps to make sure the final piece of legislation is based on evidence.

The deputy editor for the B2B brands is Daniel O’Boyle.

Summary:

Amid the record-breaking heat in the UK this week, Clarion Gaming’s Daniel O’Boyle said the industry can make its case to the public, even if it means concessions in areas where reform is popular, such as those involving widespread sharing of bank statements. “With this transparency, the industry can make its case to the public, and focus on avoiding measures such as those involving widespread sharing of bank statements,” he added.