Entain Establishes Players’ Panel to Give Consumers Say in Gambling Re-regulation

Entain has set up a new initiative the Players’ Panel, asking regular players to weigh in on the upcoming re-regulation of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Entain Gives Players Line of Communication with Lawmakers

In a bid to empower consumers, Entain has formed a new Players’ Panel that seeks input from players on government regulation as well as how they perceive gambling-related issues and what solutions they think would work.

To give objectivity to the initiative, Entain has reached out to players from across its range of brands, including Ladbrokes, Gala Bingo, and Coral, asking for genuine feedback from players and offering no specific rewards to ensure that every participant is doing so out of their own free will.

Entain is taking the solution one step further, moving it from a mere gabfest for players to discuss ideas, to a platform where they can pitch suggestions directly to policymakers who will weigh the pros and cons of re-regulating the industry.

With the 2005 Gambling Act now under review, many changes are expected, some more welcome than others. Gambling firms are facing what they often describe as an existential threat to many businesses and jobs.

Fees Could Go Up

Presently, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is planning to hike fees to 55% for all remote gambling businesses in October 2021, and add an additional 15% renewal fee increase for all land-based businesses in April 2022.

This aside, Entain champions regulated markets and is determined to stay put in all major jurisdictions where gambling is permitted by law, while phasing out operations from grey markets. The call for evidence launched by the DCMS that will run through March 31 may have wide repercussions on the industry in the United Kingdom.

Many other issues have been brought up, including restricted advertisement, betting limits, as well as whether the UK Gambling Commission, the country’s regulator, should be scrapped and replaced.

For its part, Entain says that it’s only interested in supporting the process of re-regulation and in providing lawmakers with actionable information and data, gathered by players who actually participate in such gaming contests.

Commenting on the Players’ Panel initiative, Entain corporate affairs director Grianne Hurst had this to say cited by iGaming Business:

“Betting and gambling is a popular pastime for many people, yet the individuals who take part in it regularly and recreationally are rarely asked their opinion”

-Entain corporate affairs director Grianne Hurst

He reiterated the company’s position, which is to provide players with a reliable and safe gaming experience. Players’ Panel is a way for this to happen, Hurst believes.

Just Regular People Playing

One of the participants in the panel, who goes by the name of Elizabeth, said that she represented a segment of players who engaged with such products for the sake of fun and not seeking a financial return.

She further explained that she didn’t want to see her hobby lead to gambling addiction in young children or ruin livelihoods, but stressed that personal responsibility and freedom of choice are equally important in the industry.

Another person who participates in the panel is Ken, a library worker from Newcastle, who said that his stake amount to two pints of beer every week, a price he was willing to pay, even if he lost.

He was appreciative of the Players’ Panel and the opportunity to speak up his mind and be allowed in on a debate that has been somewhat one-sided insofar lawmakers have been concerned.

What Do the Numbers Say

Entain provided the results of a poll it conducted back in July 2020. Overall, 1,781 customers were polled and the majority of them, around 73%, agreed that betting and gaming were a normal leisurely activity.

Another 79% said that people should be free to choose what and how they spend their time and money on. An estimated 81% agreed that individuals should be the one making the calls regarding gambling, so long as the activity is offered within the legal framework.

However, a notable change was noted in opinions when Entain asked whether it’s up to the individual to determine how much they can bet responsibly. About 68% agreed with the rest remaining aware of the tripwires gambling brings.

However, 71% of interviewed people responded that the staking limit should be up to the individual to decide, even though this conflicts with the previous answer.

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