A report published at the end of June by the Public Accounts Committee, a body responsible for keeping track of government spending, has stated that the Gambling Commission was failing to look after approximately 395,000 problem gamblers in the UK.
In response, the regulator has acknowledged that it has more work to do after the House of Commons-based committee described the Commission as “toothless”.
Player Protection Used as Commission’s Proof of Success
The reported paid particular attention to the £19million gained in licence fees by the Gambling Commission by calling it inadequate in being able to effectively regulate an industry which produces a gross gambling yield well into the high billions.
In response to this, the Gambling Commission was at pains to point out that it has a good record of implementing measures to look after players, including among other things the ban on gambling with credit cards.
It must be said though, that yet again those betting on casino games, horse racing and football are affected by this and not looked after enough while those buying lottery tickets are exempt from these measures as well as by any public stigma.
The body has said that it has strengthened player protection measures over the past two years, bringing in ID verification and the credit card ban while also being tougher with enforcement activity.
The Commission has also established in recent weeks an Experts by Experience advisory board which will supposedly help to strengthen these efforts, although they have acknowledged that more can always be done.
Commission has Tunnel Vision and Does Not Protect All Players
The Commission has said recently that they are committed to working faster when it comes to progressing on helping those with gambling related harms, something they were essentially forced into after a National Audit Office report which highlighted deficiencies in the body’s nous in protecting people and enforcing licencing conditions.
The latest damning report comes after the Gambling Commission was also criticised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group regarding gambling related harm which has on more than one occasion declared the body as not fit for purpose.
Protecting players however goes deeper than simply trying to help those who have already shown signs of gambling related harm and addiction.
As we have pointed out on numerous occasions, those betting on sport and on poker games are in effect “lumped in” with those who bet repeatedly on games they cannot control the outcome of, such as lotteries, bingo and scratch cards.
To the particular chagrin for example of horse racing punters, betting companies are repeatedly allowed to restrict or even close the accounts of players who win.
This leave a very bitter taste in the mouth of course, and essentially means that the Gambling Commission is by its inaction allowing bookmakers to eventually reach the utopia of only having account holders who lose.
This means their books are not based on the fact that some will win and some will lose, they simply want to get rid of those who can take a very small portion of their valuable profit. If this is allowed to continue, it looks like the pre-cursor to eventually banning sports gambling in the UK at a time when other territories, such as the USA, are moving the other way.
The Gambling Commission is indeed a toothless organisation, one that ruins its good work in keeping all gambling companies fully licenced and regulated by simply not looking after those who like to gamble and can do so in a controlled manner – and maybe even win now and then!