UK Gambling Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for December 15, 2017

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Dec 15, 2017

Online Gambling Trade Association Urges UK Government To Impose Problem Gambling Levy

Current voluntary donation system “no longer fit for purpose”

The Remote Gambling Association – a trade body for the online gambling industry – announced Monday that it would urge the UK government to introduce a statutory levy to replace the current system of voluntary funding for research, education, and treatment of problem gambling; and to ensure that the National Responsible Gambling Strategy is properly funded.

“The current voluntary funding system, which is overseen by GambleAware, was originally established by the gambling industry to provide finances for a range of social responsibility projects, and full credit should be given to all those companies who have contributed to it regularly over the years,” a statement from the RGA advises.

“Without this support there would have been few or no specialist treatment services in Great Britain and less resource available for research and education.

“However, it has become increasingly clear that this system is no longer fit for purpose and this concern is presumably why DCMS in its Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures October 2017) posed a specific question about the future of the funding of research, education and treatment.”

The RGA’s previous position was that it was not opposed in principle to the introduction of a statutory levy. After careful consideration it has now taken the decision that it should instead proactively seek the introduction of such a levy for which there is already a reserve power in the Gambling Act 2005.

When it responds in January to the DCMS consultation the RGA will adopt this line and propose ways in which an equitable and effective levy system could be implemented sooner rather than late, the statement advises.

Commenting on the proposal, the RGA’s chief executive, Clive Hawkswood, said:

“There has been much to commend in the voluntary funding system, but if we are to combat problem gambling to the best of our ability and to minimise gambling related harm, then now is the time for change and for a fresh start.

“We are all disappointed that the current system has been the subject of so much criticism and has struggled with fundraising, but we need to put that behind us.

“We have acknowledged the problem and put forward a long-term solution. We believe everyone’s efforts should now be focussed on bringing this change about. For the industry this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.

“More funding is needed if we are to fulfil our responsibilities to everyone in this country who gambles, and especially those who are affected by problem gambling. A statutory levy will ensure the right funds are raised in a fair and open process and, crucially, that they are allocated in a way that is transparent, independent, and achieves measurable benefits.”

Responsible Gambling Body Chairman Steps Down

Goldwag leaves for the health industry after three years in the hot seat

The chair of independent responsible gambling body Senet, Wanda Goldwag, has stepped down after three years and is moving to the UK health sector, the organisation advised Monday.

Goldwag was the first chair appointed by Senet in 2014 when the group was founded to improve industry-wide social responsibility standards in gambling advertising and operational practices.

Announcing her departure, Goldwag said:

“It has been an honour working with Senet in raising awareness of the risks associated with excessive and problem gambling. I believe the lead players in the sector have a unique responsibility as well as a unique ability to deliver these messages.

“The Senet Group has played a central role in crafting these messages and in securing the commitments made to deliver them and to limit various forms of advertising.”

The Senet board has appointed Gillian Wilmot, a non-executive director, to the position of Interim Chair while the board reviews its future plans with regards to leadership.

Advertising Watchdog Reprimands Online Gambling Operator

Sexist tweet on TV presenters derogatory towards women

ProgressPlay, the owner of the Fruity King online casino has been sharply criticised for a sexist and insulting September tweet posted by the operator, who ProgressPlay claims is a licensee.

The tweet targeted the ITV television show Loose Women, insulting the swimwear-clad presenters via their images and the words “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. #LooseWomen18”.

After receiving complaints the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK considered the matter, and ProgressPlay’s rather lame excuse that the comment was meant to make reference to Loose Women as a low quality TV show, and not insult the presenters.

Fruity King has been on the carpet before following other efforts to emulate the attention-grabbing tactic of presenting controversial promotional material, and the ASA was having none of it.

The watchdog found that viewers would perceive the Loose Women tweet and image to ridicule the positive womens’ body concept that the original image was intended to portray, and therefore breached the CAP Code rule on causing harm and offence.

The watchdog warned ProgressPlay to ensure in future its advertising is not derogatory towards women.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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