Industry reaction to suggestion UKGC & DCMS have “unacceptably weak” grasp of gambling harm impact

Comments by David Clifton on one discrete aspect of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s “Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people” report (published on 28 June 2020) feature in an EGR article published today (30 June 2020) entitled “Industry reaction to suggestion UKGC and DCMS have “unacceptably weak” grasp of gambling-harm impact”.

Bearing the sub-heading “The gambling community reacts to another damning report into the state of UK regulation and responsible gambling”, the article goes on to say: the Betting and Gaming Council, DCMS, GBGC’s Warwick Bartlett and Clifton Davies’ David Clifton all share their views with EGR on the latest report to hit the industry”.

David’s following comments within the article focus on the Public Accounts Committee recommendation that the DCMS should set out details on how it will ensure the Commission has the funding and the flexibility it needs to regulate effectively in a legal situation in which currently fewer, larger firms means less funding for regulation”:

The report states that “under the current regime, consolidation within the industry results in a reduction in the Gambling Commission’s budget regardless of the impact on the gambling yield. The Gambling Commission told the Committee that a recent merger could result in a reduction of £400,000 in the Commission’s budget”.

This would represent a considerable reduction in the Commission’s budget, bearing in mind that it only receives £19m in licence fee income each year. However, it is the DCMS, not the Gambling Commission, that sets the Commission’s fees. The DCMS says it’s expecting evidence from the Commission on future funding requirements, but now this has been flagged up in the PAC report, I suspect it will turn into a major issue for debate, as and when the review of the Gambling Act commences, particularly bearing in mind the Commission’s comment that the current funding arrangements do not provide it with the flexibility it needs to respond to changing risks within the sector. Ultimately, one thing is for certain: we know where the increased cost burden is likely to fall!

Subscribers to EGR can access the article here.