The House of Lords Liaison Committee looks likely to create a special inquiry committee to investigate “the social and economic consequences of the gambling industry”.
At first glance, the inclusion of the term “economic” in the brief seemed like an opportunity to explore how many jobs the gambling sector creates, how much tax it pays and how many companies it keeps in business through the supply chain.
It could also look at the lost economic opportunity of the super casinos and the tourism and jobs they would have created in the last decade. Or the gambling sector’s economic contribution during the recession of 2008-2009 when it was one of the sectors still taking sports sponsorship and renting high street premises.
But no, the list of suggested topics the committee might consider includes the usual suspects:
The economic cost of gambling on services including mental health, hospital inpatient services; welfare and employment costs through Job Seeker’s Allowance claimant costs and lost labour tax receipts; housing costs through statutory homelessness applications and criminal justice costs;
The effectiveness of the voluntary levy and possible alternatives;
Taxation of offshore gambling companies;
The impact, if any, of gambling advertising;
How women and ethnic minorities with gambling addictions can be better supported;
The ‘gamblification’ of sport and involvement of betting companies;
Whether the Gambling Commission and local authorities are effectively regulating gambling.
Why bother running the race when the result is already known?