At this year’s excellent Westminster e-Forum on gambling, I spoke on a panel entitled “Industry growth and development: key markets, investment and Brexit implications”. On Brexit, I stuck my neck out again and said that in my opinion the border with Gibraltar would remain open because it was in everyone’s mutual interest to keep it open.
In my short presentation I told the audience the things that keep me awake at night when it comes to gambling. It could be summed up to two things: a lack of innovation and a deluge of regulation. On innovation, I asked why no-one was talking about Artificial Intelligence and what it could do for the industry, if anything at all. Most probably because regulation is taking up everyone’s attention.
Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission, talked about the priorities for developing and enforcing a strong and effective regulatory framework.
At the end of her presentation Ian Ince from Playtech commented that “since June 2014, or this last 2.5 years when Point of Consumption Tax was introduced, I would like to know if the Commission is fully aware of the pressures on the industry, particularly when you’ve heard the other speakers, earlier this afternoon, talking about consolidation and zero innovation? And to use your words, you know, we don’t have unlimited resources.”
This is what the industry has had to contend with in this last couple of years:
• Point of Consumption Tax (POCT) introduced
• NOSES (National online Self Exclusion Scheme)
• Remote Gambling and software technical standards consultation (RTS)
• Crime Review Consultation (LCCP)
• Social Responsibility (includes reality spin, auto spin)
• Enforcement Consultation – putting gambler first
• LCCP changes post crime
• Annual Assurance Statement
• Corporate Evaluation
• Testing strategy audit
• RTS monitoring
• Source of Funds
• General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
• Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD)
• POCT extended to free bets
Clearly this is all too much, most of which serves no useful purpose. The UK is leaving the European Union supposedly to rid itself of unnecessary regulation but if regulation was an Olympic sport the UK would be a gold medallist.