After over two years of waiting, the betting industry and research, education and treatment sector (RET) finally learned the proposals of the Gambling Act review when the White Paper was published in April.
The generational legislative overhaul of the UK’s regulatory framework for betting laid out a series of recommendations for change. This has included a mandatory levy to support RET activities and finance risk checks, although little mention of advertising reforms that some campaigners were hoping for.
Ahead of the review’s publication, SBC Media spoke to Gordon Moody at the treatment organisation’s Manchester clinic, gaining an understanding of a leading RET organisation’s views on forthcoming regulatory changes.
“I think the industry has done a lot,” said Gordon Moody CEO Matthew Hickey, reflecting on responsible practice adopted by UK operators in recent years.
“I think it really has come a long way. My evidence in that is in the conversations I and Gordon Moody have with the industry. They are proactively doing more and more from that safer gambling and responsible gambling side of things.
“What I would like to see is more information sharing between us as treatment operators and the industry. What I mean by that is to help profile, develop understanding and develop referral routeways direct from operators straight into treatment, rather than have to go through how many steps a gambling addict might have to, lets cut that down as short as possible.”
Notable efforts adopted by the industry in recent years have covered topics such as advertising, such as the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on ads during football games, as well as greater adoption of technology such as Artificial Intelligence to monitor player behaviour.
To support RET efforts, the long-term funding model has seen the industry make voluntary donations. However, with the White Paper now published, it seems that a mandatory levy is now going to define the future of operators’ financing relationship with charities such as Gordon Moody.
The key question to ask about the RET funding model is ‘does it work now?’, Hickey observed. He continued: “We’re a reasonably well funded sector. Could we do with more? Of course we could. But to what level, double? I don’t know, because the data isn’t there. We’re working on it and we will get there, but I think we’ve still got a bit of a way to go.”
Regardless of the White Paper’s recommendations, statistics show that the player protection policies of the industry and the efforts of groups such as Gordon Moody have been making a difference.
For example, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has put the British problem gambling rate at 0.2% as of February 2023, whilst the most recent NHS statistics showed a figure of 0.3%. That does not mean the job is done, however.
“There is always more work to be done when it comes to keeping players safe,” the company’s then-head of External Engagement, Rob Mabbett, commented.
“”When we look at the prevalence statistics in the UK, we’re seeing that although the mount of people in the UK that gamble is quite consistent we are seeing what looks like a reduction in those experiencing gambling harm, which needs to be recognized because there is a huge collaborative effort, not just among the operators but from regulatory bodies, commissioners, charities in the sector, to raise awareness and reduce stigma.”
The UK government and Gambling Commission are now beginning consultations on the White Paper’s recommendations, with the RET levy due to be discussed following finance risk checks and slot stake limits.
It can be expected that organisations such as Gorodn Moody will play an active role in these consultations, as stakeholders look to shape the future of British betting’s regulatory framework.
To watch the full interview with Gordon Moody, covering the organisation’s operations and other major regulatory talking points, click HERE