The Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG) are calling for significant changes to the GB Commission and its oversight of gambling operators in recent draft report. Representatives of the Commission are accusing the APBGG of overreach, while other critics have questioned their financial ties to the very operators who are being regulated.
At the center of the controversy is a draft report the APBGG has been working on since September. The report itself hasn’t been published, and the APBGG has refused to make it public. But the Guardian newspaper recently got hold of it and found its findings to be very pro-gaming industry and highly critical of the Commission.
In the report, the APBGG accused the Commission of overstepping its boundaries in its efforts to curb problem gambling during Britain’s recent lockdowns. MPs on the committee stopped short of calling for the end of the Commission, but are definitely calling for its overhaul.
While the APBGG may well be working from a truthful place, it’s easy to wonder how much they’ve been influenced by gambling operators. Several APBGG have accepted freebies, such as soccer tickets, from gambling operators. Conservative MP Aaron Bell both accepted perks from operators and was once employed by Bet365. All the lawmakers have denied any wrongdoing, but their predilection for free stuff doesn’t smell very good to critics.
A spokeperson for the Commission stated what the APBGG didn’t seem to understand saying, “Some sections of the industry are never going to be content with a regulator which continually pushes for safer gambling. As the industry regulator, we expect to hear from them in an official capacity to respond to views about the Gambling Commission and put straight inaccurate assumptions, as well as share our regulatory approach.”
The APBGG’s report was commissioned as part of a larger effort to overhaul Britain’s gambling laws, but there’s no indication of when the final version will be released.