UK REGULATORY CHIEF SAYS INDUSTRY DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE ENOUGH TO PROBLEM GAMBLING SOLUTIONS
Harrison hints at a more robust mandatory approach if operators dont come through.
Speaking at the World Regulatory Briefing conference in London this week, the UK Gambling Commission head, Sarah Harrison, suggested to the gambling industry that a greater commitment to combat problem gambling through voluntary funding was needed…and hinted that if this was not forthcoming "a more robust arrangement" imposed on the industry may prove necessary.
Comparing the amount of money invested in advertising by operators to that of their voluntary contributions to responsible gambling projects, Harrison said that GBP 120 million was spent on advertising last year, but gambling firms contributed only GBP 6.5 million to the Responsible Gaming Trust.
"That cannot be right," she said. "GBP 6.5 million is nowhere near enough. If the RGT were able to rely on a minimum of 0.1 percent of every operator’s GGY, that would provide a ballpark figure of GBP 10 to GBP 11 million – a much more credible sum for such an important task.”
The Gambling Commission chief said that it should be a concern among operators that the problem gambling contribution be evenly carried by the industry, observing:
“How can it be fair that some operators, large and small, contribute year in and year out while others get a free ride?”
Referring to the current voluntary scheme, Harrison hinted at a tougher approach if the issue was not addressed, saying:
“I know that RGT would welcome a more robust arrangement, for example under which the industry agrees and codifies a common approach.
“Great Britain operators now face a key opportunity – to give credible commitment to the voluntary based system for supporting research, education and treatment, or face stronger calls for mandatory action.”
Harrison voiced support for the new National Responsible Gambling Strategy developed by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) – the Commission’s expert advisory board on responsible gambling.
“I believe this strategy provides the framework for what we are jointly working to achieve. Devised in consultation with stakeholders, it covers all forms of gambling and sets the agenda for operators, regulators, commissioning organisations, Government, trade bodies, treatment providers and a number of other public agencies,“ Harrison said.
She added that the new RGT chairperson, Kate Lampard, would oversee a research plan and secure funding to implement the strategy over the next three years, but that there was a need for the industry to commit to the project by delivering the necessary funding for the resources and expertise that will be required.