GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 50 - August 2021

Lord Foster of Bath Chair of the UK Peers for Gambling Reform WALL OF SHAME between £700 million and £975 million in profits per year. But wait a damn minute. Those numbers only apply to four of the biggest operators and the national lottery. Turns out, that estimate doesn’t apply to the industry as a whole, which, of course, would make that figure “significantly higher.” Now consider this. The U.K.’s gross gam- bling yield was approximately £14.2 billion last year. That’s before operating expenses are removed. Actual profits would be lower. But even if we use the higher figure of £14.2 billion and the conservative estimate that these changes will “only” cost £975 million, that’s still a nearly 7% hit to the bottom line. With the gambling addiction rate in the U.K. at approximately one half of 1%, perhaps Lord Foster could take a moment out of his busy day and descend from his ivory tower just long enough to explain to us peas- ants how a 0.5% problem justifies his 7% solution. Leaders at the Bet t ing and Gaming Council calledMr. Foster’s suggestions “fool- ish and fantasy,” which Foster took issue with, challenging the BGC to prove they were “fantasy.” But as usual, Foster’s senility was kicking in because obviously the Betting and Gaming Council did not mean that the Lord’s suggestions were impossible to implement. It simply meant that if implemented, it was fantasy to think the industry would survive. At least, survive as we know it. And maybe that’s the Good Lord’s goal here, to castrate the gambling industry. After all, Mr. Foster admits his changes will result not only in a loss of income, but a loss of people’s jobs, as well. But he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants. The scariest part may be what Lord Foster said next: “There were quite a number of gambling reforms which could be introduced without the need for pri- mary legislation.” Let me translate that for you. What he means is that he’s just fine with reg- ulatory changes being put into action right now without all the fuss of actually being debated, discussed and passed by Parliament. Yep, he is urging the gov- ernment to implement changes without waiting for the Gambling Act review to be completed. Put it all together and we have a no-brainer new inductee to the APCW Wall of Shame. Welcome to the club, Lord Foster! Since the APCW was founded in 2003, we’ve seen lies, theft, stupidity and igno- rance on a monumental scale. But in all those years, we may have never witnessed a more cavalier, arrogant, self-serving little wanker than Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of the U.K.’s Peers for Gambling Reform. According to its website, Peers for Gam- bling Reform was established “to imple- ment the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry’s report into gambling harm.” Since its launch, these “peers” have gone after affordability checks, stake limits and a reduction in the speed of gameplay. All, supposedly, in order to protect those with gambling problems. Lord Foster has openly ad- mitted that these “re- forms” would cost the industry 68 Flag illustration by patrice6000/Shutterstock; background illustration by patrice6000/Shutterstock; G P W A t i m e s . o r g