GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 46 - February 2020

WALL OF SHAME ber of closed private inquiry sessions to gather evidence.” Some of the folks they spoke to included GamStop, the national self-exclusion service, GamCare, a U.K. charity that provides support for anyone affected by problem gambling, the Adver- tising Standard Authority, which has been handing out fines to gambling operators over the past few years like candy on Hal- loween, and former online gamblers, who we’re assuming, were “former players” for a reason. Talk about a stacked deck! So, it was no surprise when the “inquisition” found that the U.K. Gambling Commission was “not fit for purpose,” claiming it was allowing the gambling industry to “prey on vulnerable gamblers.” What other conclusion could they come to, other than the one they so obviously wanted? Of course, the UKGC flatly rejected the unfit for purpose claims, saying it had not been given the opportunity to present its own evidence. Well, there you have it. The GRH APPG is actually making us feel compassion for the UKGC, which has long been in our crosshairs and ironically was the most re- cent inductee to the APCWWall of Shame (see the October 2019 issue). So, move over UKGC and make room. Your friends at the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group have the seat right next to you on our Wall of Shame. Welcome to the club! Following a six-month “inquisition,” the newly fangled faction that appropriately calls itself the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group, released a 45-page report back in November titled, “Online Gambling Harm Inquiry.” The GRH APPG, made up of British MPs, including Chairperson Carolyn Harris, concluded, among other things, that the maximum stake for online gambling bets should be reduced to £2. This, of course, may sound familiar to you, be- cause it was just last year that the government slashed the max bet on fixed odds betting terminals from to £100 to £2, causing mas- sive closures of betting shops and substantial revenue losses for operators while also costing thousands and thousands of people their jobs. That said, we don’t think we have to em- phasize the significance such a move would have for online gambling and the potential catastrophic fallout for operators and affil- iates. In fact, iGaming stocks immediately took a hit just on the rumor of this max stakes reduction being implemented. But as bad and poorly thought out as this bright idea by the GRH APPG is, it’s the way they came to this conclusion that is even more maddening. Simply put, this so-called “inquisition” was designed to generate a desired outcome and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened. You see the “inquiry” consisted of holding “six public inquiry sessions and a num- Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group 72