As we come away from the Easter Weekend, the credit card ban comes into force. With the thanks of some vocal and tireless EbEs the pressure on the Gambling Commission to act was something they finally couldn’t ignore. The sinister side of my can’t help but think that the timing of the announcement, after a long weekend when everyone would have been at home with a bustling sporting schedule (obviously all cancelled now) was done to extract the last Monetary Yield Potential (MYP) from the exploitation of disordered gamblers. That said, it was a victory nonetheless for a common sense decision that should have been made years ago.
The week. stated out with an odd attack on what I consider a valuable EbE resource and indeed an EbE in their own right- Justice4Punters- being berated by the head of the BGC on twitter. Knowing the wealth of experience and evidence J4P has to hand, it seemed incredible that this sort of approach was taken. Why on earth they wouldn’t wish to have a good relationship with J4P is baffling and one in which they will probably regret not doing. I can personally handle being passively named as a ‘troll’ and suggesting that I’m not worthy of a ‘follow’. Strangely though, the BGC follow me, so perhaps this is an ego thing. Interestingly the BGC’s official Twitter account quickly replied to me when I asked about a UKGC company that continually sent me marketing material from an account I had self-excluded from many years back. The response simply being, ‘They’re not one of our members’. And that was that! So they’re not interested in the failings of a UKGC company that don’t pay their subscription fee. The Gambling Commission also know about these breaches and many many more I have presented to them. They too have done absolutely nothing and showed no interest.
The sad thing about this is that there are people out there right now in the fog of disordered gambling that are being exploited that don’t even know it. Ultimately, just one of these texts or emails or the bombardment of social media and TV adverts could be enough to trigger an episode that leads to suicide.
So from now on I will not personally engage with either the BGC. As an old foe of the BGC said recently, ‘they are insignificant’. I will not engage with the GC until they are overhauled and are brought to account for their questionable decision making over the years. I know of many people that have much stronger evidence than I do that suggests things are really not adding up with how they are regulating and protecting the vulnerable, protecting children and keeping crime out of gambling.
As a well respected and more balanced industry man said about the BGC, ‘The tone of the BGC on here is rally frustratingly familiar. It seems like the strategy is to use up all the charm and gentle persuasion on politicians and regulators and then take off the gloves for twitter and have a tear up with the punters. As it ever was……’
On 9 April we then heard from ‘UK Gambling Consultant’ Steve Donoughue (Gambling Insider article). He said, ‘We’ll have affordability; that’ll be the killer. I think we’ll have increased regulation and basically think we will end up with a limit to what you can lose per month.’ He goes on to say that regulators need to avoid placing gambling in the same category as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs (this was a strange one to add in). Most stark of all he states, ‘There is an 80% chance gambling turns into the new tobacco- with no advertising, real restraints on marketing.’
Then just yesterday, Peter Hannibal of the ‘Gambling Business Group’ described the proposal of the Gambling Commission’s EbE panel as ‘scary’. He goes onto say that ‘this could be worse than the smoking ban in terms of long-term damage in the UK. Are they not bothered?’
So although last week I said we will shout loudly because nobody listens. Actually, we won’t shout anymore because we do have the right people listening. We may not have the bottomless pockets they have, but we have morals and evidence and we are becoming surrounded by those that have never experienced disordered gambling becoming aware of the realities of what’s happening. The CV19 lockdown is allowing people to see this on their TV screens, mobile phones and laptops continually.