Has the die already been cast?

Although the illustration used for David Clifton’s current Licensing Expert article for SBC News might evoke thoughts of Jackson Pollock rather than Julius Caesar, it is the words “alea iacta est”, attributed to the latter as he took his troops across the Rubicon river in 49BC, that have inspired the question posed in the title of David’s article: “Has the die already been cast?” (that you can download below).

Focusing on relevant gambling industry events over the last month or so, David suggests that the dice might already have been thrown in the lead-up to the forthcoming UK government review of the Gambling Act 2005, with those from the gambling-related harm and anti-gambling lobbies having arguably gained more political ground so far than the gambling industry has done itself.

With recent reports arising from (a) the Gambling Related Harm APPG’s Online Gambling Harm Inquiry, (b) the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s examination of “Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people” and (c) the House of Lords Select Committees inquiry into the social and economic impact of the gambling industry firmly in mind, David concludes that the mounting PR challenge facing the industry as the government review gets ever closer will demand superlative lobbying skills to be employed by those able to displace opinion with evidence and substitute fact for fiction.

Although some may consider the random, frenetic and abstract style employed by Jackson Pollock to provide an effective simile for certain of the views expressed in at least one of those reports, it would be a mistake for the gambling industry to criticise any of them as lacking ideas that will merit serious consideration and informed debate in due course.

One issue on which it seems clear further debate is inevitable is the concept of affordability – a highly topical subject, particularly given the Gambling Commission’s ongoing “High-Value Customers” consultation – on which David expands in his article.