The resignation of Sports Minister Tracey Crouch came quite unexpectedly amid the polemic about the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Ms. Crouch remains a proponent of gambling protection & responsibility, but if anything, her successor, Mims Davies, is just as determined to shield customers from potential harm.
Mims Davies to Make Operators Comply
Filling in the shoes of former Minister of Sports Tracey Crouch, Mims Davies is the latest appointment in the cabinet of Prime Minister Theresa May. Ms. Davies is quite determined to uphold the highest standards in the iGaming sector and protect customers.
One way to do this is by forcing operators to utilize the existing voluntary donations system in order to support problem gambling services, such as GambleAware, or face an even more stringent regulatory framework which will oblige them to pay a percentage of their profits by law.
Ms. Davies spoke at a GambleAware conference in London recently, outlining a future in which operators need to contribute more to services that are dedicated to handling problem gambling issues. According to her, there will have to be a continuous in the amount to meet the needs of the market and bring down the number of individuals who suffer varying degrees of addiction.
However, Ms. Davies warnings were not a criticism of how little operators had been paying. Citing numbers provided by the National Health System and Problem Gambling Support Team in Leeds, the statistics showed that there has been an almost three-fold increase year-on-year in the amount of donations.
Ms. Davies welcomed the increase in the sums, saying that she was happy to see operators complying with the legal framework and norms upheld by the Gambling Commission (UKGC).
I am pleased to see a substantial increase in industry donations this year to help tackle problem gambling,” she told delegates. – Sports Minister Mims Davies
Commenting on the adopting of a mandatory tax levy, Ms. Davies explained that she champions the voluntary system but in the event, that the system stops working, then the government will take measures and make it mandatory for every operator to contribute an even greater amount.
"We have been saying for a long time now that gambling is being increasingly normalised for children. They are growing up in a very different world than their parents, one where technology and the internet are ever present.https://t.co/8p1foSkkdl
— BeGambleAware (@BeGambleAware) December 6, 2018
Ms. Davies also differentiated between her main objectives and those of operators. Her prime concern, she specified, was to ensure that problem gambling is addressed and that would have to come at any cost.
With the help of GambleAware, operators have so far been donating at least 0.1% of their revenue (as obliged by law), but should this number begin to look inefficient, more funds will be demanded.
The Minister also specified that with the upcoming reduction of the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) wagers, any employee in the gaming industry who loses their jobs will have to be supported by their respective operator to mitigate the impact of the issue.
Ms. Davies addressed another important aspect of the industry, broaching a sensitive topic – online advertisement. So far, the UKGC has been actively trying to limit the TV ads, but Ms. Davies didn’t miss the opportunity to mention online ads.
She concluded that regulators need to keep pace with the evolving iGaming industry.