Standards body the Betting and Gaming Council has congratulated Paul Scully MP on his appointment as Minister responsible for the betting and gaming industry.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher also congratulated Michelle Donelan MP on her re-appointment to the Cabinet and encouraged both to continue engagement with the industry to find the right balance in the upcoming Gambling Review.
Mr Dugher also paid tribute to outgoing Gambling Minister, Damian Collins MP, who had been leading the Gambling Review and who has now returned to the backbenches.
Paul Scully was previously a Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up and will also continue in his role as Minister for London.
The Betting and Gaming Council was established in 2019 and represents over 90 per cent of retail betting shops, online betting and gaming operators, casinos and bingo operators. As the single industry body, we work with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gambling and build public and institutional trust in our world class industry.
Every month some 22.5 million adults have a wager, whether that’s on horse racing, playing the lottery, bingo or casino games, or having a bet on the football and other sports.
We are encouraged by the latest figures from the Gambling Commission which shows the rate of problem gambling among adults in the UK remains low by international standards at 0.3 per cent, down from 0.4 the year previous.
Michael Dugher said: “On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by our members – from the high street to hospitality, from tourism to world-leading British tech – I’d like to congratulate both Paul Scully MP on his new role and Michelle Donelan MP on her re-appointment as Secretary of State for DCMS. Our industry generates £4.5bn in taxes for the Treasury and contributes £7.7bn for the economy in gross value added.
“We are ready to work with DCMS to help find carefully targeted, proportionate measures which achieve the right balance. We want to continue to drive big changes and drive higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time ensuring that the 22.5 million punters who enjoy a flutter each month, perfectly safely and responsibly, have the freedom to do so.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to Damian Collins MP, the widely respected outgoing minister who was leading on the Review, for his willingness to engage with the industry and understand the contribution we make to the economy.”
Gammix Limited slams “outrageous and unsubstantiated” €19.7m KSA penalty
The operator vows to fight on all fronts against the Dutch regulator’s ‘unjust’ ruling.
Gammix Limited has announced its intention to contest the “outrageous and unsubstantiated” penalty handed to them by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).
In response, Gammix stated that the record €19.7m penalty imposed is based on “falsified data, extreme inaccuracy and highly suspect mathematics”.
In the ruling the regulator said that Gammix was adjudged to have allowed online gambling access for Dutch consumers, as well as not requiring age verification upon sign-up – something the company wholeheartedly disputes.
Gammix reports that accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card. Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.
The operator asserts that the penalty, totalling €19,679,000, has been calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of 240 Euros per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.
Furthermore, Gammix strongly condemns the KSA’s “mystery shopper” style of investigation, which, the operator states, is an unjust basis for this record-breaking penalty.
Phil Pearson, Director of Gammix Limited, has vowed to “fight on all fronts until it receives an apology and retraction!.
He said: “The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated. Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.
“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place. We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines – a request they appeared to ignore. Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.
“We had enabled a block on Cloudflare for any Dutch IP, we have no Dutch language or direct Dutch payment methods, and categorically do not target Dutch traffic. If affiliates list any of our brands on Dutch-facing sites, we cannot be held responsible for those promotions. However, once players reached the end site, they would not be able to register an account.”
Pearson concluded: “This fine is an absolute joke, and we will contest this in every possible way, at every possible turn. We will only rest once this outrageous penalty has been rescinded and we have received the apology we deserve.”
BHA Chief Executive Julie Harrington Statement Following Parliamentary Debate on Affordability Checks
BHA Chief Executive Julie Harrington has issued the following statement after MPs debated the impact of affordability checks.
“Yesterday’s debate on the impact of affordability checks on British racing has shone a light on a hugely important issue for our sport.
“It was vital that MPs were given proper parliamentary time to thoroughly interrogate the Government’s proposals and we were encouraged by the high turnout for a Westminster Hall debate.
“Many MPs made valuable contributions to the debate, and we are sure that Sports Minister Stuart Andrew will have listened with interest to the views expressed.
“From MPs of all parties and all sides of the debate, there was a clear recognition of the need for the Government to protect and support British racing when reviewing gambling legislation.
“If our sport is to remain a healthy industry, supporting jobs in the rural economy and remaining competitive with our international rivals, we hope that Government will heed this advice.
“We were encouraged by Minister Andrew ruling out the use of job titles and postcodes in the implementation of enhanced spending checks and confirming that these changes will at least be subject to a genuine pilot.
“We will continue to make the case into the heart of Government that the impact of these checks both on our industry and racing bettors needs to be carefully considered and look forward to further discussions on this important issue for British racing with the Gambling Commission and DCMS.”
Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry
By Salvador Garcia-Noblejas, Senior Regulatory Assurance Services at ComplianceOne Group
The gambling industry has its origins in the ancient period, and different types of games are found in almost every culture and civilization.
Over the last few years, we have witnessed an immense transformation, clearly boosted by technological developments. Among these changes, online gambling has grown rapidly, and with this new non-face-to-face reality, regulation and regulators have also embraced new ways to protect players, businesses, and the overall economy. Regulators have the responsibility to set the framework of common rules that define what is right and wrong, the means to protect all parties, and the tools that must be used when anyone does not behave as expected.
Assurance in a world of global risks
It would be inaccurate to assume that regulatory assurance’s only goal is to ensure that operators operate in a fair and transparent manner and meet their legal obligations. On the contrary, assurance also includes helping businesses understand the risks involved in the industry where they operate, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and setting measures to mitigate those risks.
Assurance’s starting point consists of an interview phase where tailor-made questionnaires serve better understanding the reality to each operator and its actual circumstances. Once the assurance assessment is complete, a detailed action plan assists the operator in fixing any identified gaps, improving policies and procedures, and obtaining the maximum financial gain from refining their processes, products, and operations.
As part of the fast transformation of the gambling industry, with competitive new products, platforms, advertisements, and market expansion, we must not forget that bad actors and illegal practices also develop. This is the moment to ask ourselves if we are ready to face whatever can harm our operations. The most efficient way to know is carrying out a thorough audit of policies, procedures, and processes. This approach will certainly save operators from potential harm to their clients, products, brands, and finances.
Regulators focus on legislation, supervision, and enforcement. All stakeholders must comply with gambling regulations if they want to offer products and services or provide a safe environment to their clients. An important part of the gambling legal system is the fact that the industry is continuously overseen to ensure that all actors adhere to the established rules. At this point, operators need to ask themselves how ready they are to show sufficient evidence that their operations adhere to the law.
Smart operators will choose to comply with as many rules and regulations as their business is capable of, and they will ensure that records are properly kept. Company leadership is essential in ensuring compliance as it contributes to collaboration between departments and having policies and procedures that make the business run within the parameters of the legislation.
In recent years, some highly publicized enforcement actions, including fines and penalties, license suspension, and revocation, have alerted the whole gambling industry. From such cases, there have been increasing efforts in reviewing processes, improving systems, and growing compliance departments.
Experience in the gambling industry has taught us that it is crucial to have a detailed understanding of the regulations that govern the relationship between operators and players. Where knowledge has been insufficient, inaccurate, or out of date, some business decisions have led to unwanted consequences, sometimes catastrophic ones.
Knowledge, a solid compliance culture, strong procedures, and willingness are the formula to be ready for a regulatory audit.
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