CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Anne Lindner
 

Another Step Toward Reform in England

9 August 2002

A committee of the U.K. House of Commons announced recently that deregulation of the country's gambling industry will not result in a massive surge in people's interest in gambling.


"We are not convinced that deregulation will create a huge new interest in gambling as a leisure industry, based on current customer demand, and have no doubt that the government proposals will create opportunities, particularly for casinos, to modernize existing gambling products to bring the U.K. industry in line with other jurisdictions."
- U.K. Department of Culture, Media and Sport

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee released its conclusion July 24, saying, "We are not convinced that deregulation will create a huge new interest in gambling as a leisure industry, based on current customer demand, and have no doubt that the government proposals will create opportunities, particularly for casinos, to modernize existing gambling products to bring the U.K. industry in line with other jurisdictions."

The committee's conclusion came at the end of an eight-part report that includes a look at every section of the country's gambling sector, from casinos to the lottery. The report follows the March publication of "A Safe Bet for Success," which was the government's response to Sir Alan Budd's Gambling Review Body report.

The committee also concluded that the government should deregulate the gambling industry no later than the 2003-2004 legislative season.

Sources close to the U.K. gaming industry said the report made few waves for Internet gambling interests because online gaming was only mentioned briefly. Wes Himes, director of the Interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association, said his group's response to the report was mooted because much of the discussions centered on resort casinos. Regarding the committee's conclusions about the social responsibility of gaming operators, he said his group is fully supportive.

"In terms of some of the conclusions of the committee, which center around social responsibility, we were highly acceptable to those kind of things," he said "(We) are in the process of putting in place quite robust rules and guidelines about social responsibility and we feel those will be well received by the Culture Committee, and we'll go forward from there."

The report's conclusions section praised the industry for endeavoring to comply with regulations and for its work in creating a charitable trust to aid social responsibility policies.


The DCMS committee also concluded that the government should deregulate the gambling industry no later than the 2003-2004 legislative season.

"The industry can be praised for working diligently within the rules whilst seeking to expand its legitimate place within the leisure industry," it states.

Tony Coles, a lawyer with the London law firm Jeffrey Green Russell, said he was not surprised the committee came to its conclusion that gambling liberalization will not lead to more interest in gambling in the country.

"The issue and whether it leads to any new problem gambling, and the new regulatory regime will make sure that a liberalization does not lead to any problem gambling."

One group that is working hard to make sure gambling deregulation does not in fact lead to more gambling addiction in England is GamCare, an organization that provides help to people with gambling problems.

Michael Smeaton, who specializes in the group's Internet gambling developments, said while the government's gambling liberalization plan won't open the Internet gambling market more than it already is open, part of the new regulations should be Internet-gambling specific, such as time limits for how long a player can bet online and credit card spending limits.


Two percent of people seeking gambling addiction treatment with GamCare reported Internet gambling as their primary form of wagering. In the first six months of this year, that number has jumped to 31 percent.
- U.K. Department of Culture, Media and Sport

"GamCare has been working very closely with the regulators and the industry. It's a baseline that policies and practices must be in place," he said.

Smeaton said Internet gambling addiction is rapidly becoming more prevalent among GamCare's clientele. He said that last year 2 percent of people seeking gambling addiction treatment with GamCare reported Internet gambling as their primary form of wagering. In the first six months of this year, however, that number has jumped to 31 percent.

Still, Smeaton said, his group is supportive of any moves the government makes to enact socially responsible gambling laws.

"We have always maintained our stance within the industry as being neutral and pro responsible gaming," he said. "We understand the need for the development of the industry to be able to move forward ... and as long as issues are dealt with and practices are in place that will protect, then we're O.K. It's when people want to deregulate without really any other social responsibility policies--when you have one without the other--that's when you have a risk of developing large numbers of people with problems."

Another Step Toward Reform in England is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner