The past year has seen a number of regulatory changes sweep across Europe’s betting and gaming industry, with countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, among others, adopting new regimes and practices.
Much of the sector, however, is intently watching developments in the UK, where the DCMS review of the 2005 Gambling Act is expected to drastically overhaul the country’s oversight of its industry.
Speaking at the Betting on Sports Europe (BOSE) conference at London’s Stamford Bridge stadium earlier this month, Chris Elliot, Senior Associate at legal firm Wiggin LLP, spoke to The Big Betting Balagan’s Dan Philips and Lee Richardson about the potential implications of the UK government’s shift.
“What we’ll see when the White Paper is published is where the government’s angle on this is coming from. You might see some big headline policy changes, but the devil is always in the detail and the discussions are still around these kind of population wide limits and discussions around stake limits being an important one.
He continued: “It’s really what level and kind of what products that might apply to so I do think that we’ll see that. I think the other is this even more tricky, thorny concept around affordability limits, which are really a loss limit, rather than a stake limit.
“Again, I’ve seen some insight into where the government’s thinking is on that in the sense of, I do think they’re quite uncomfortable with the idea that someone should be asked to provide quite a lot of intrusive information about their financial circumstances to gamble beyond what average consumers spend.
“That’s going to affect a much larger proportion of the population that might not need the protection that that type of limit might impose.”
Predicting that the government’s decision on the Gambling Act review will likely take place next year, Elliot further detailed how there has been a ‘shift in tone’ among legislators concerning the ‘need for evidence’ in informing the government’s oversight.
“There has been a shift in tone coming out of the regulator,” he explained. “It’s important to remember that the Commission does have a duty, as well as to regulate and oversee its licensees, but also to advise the government.
“Looking at the way the industry and the way the regulators have been in front of the industry for a long time, you might think that the Commission is using its enforcement power to drive policy change in its approach in front of the government, but you have seen I think with Andrew Rhodes coming in as the the new regulator, albeit on an interim basis, that he’s still he’s still striking the right tones.”
These tones, Elliot argued, indicate that Rhodes is willing to balance the fact that gambling can and does cause harm to a certain minority of consumers, with a need for regulators to cooperate with the industry.