MPs slam UK Gambling Authority for trying to reduce addiction | gambling

A committee of MPs has produced a report criticizing the gambling industry regulator for trying to reduce addiction and calling on ministers to take special action.

The findings of the All Party Group (APPG) on betting and gaming have been called “ridiculous” by a regulatory reform campaigner and frostily received by the regulator.

The APPG describes itself as the industry’s political “facilitator” and is one of hundreds of factions targeted for alleged lobbying connections. Several of its members have been criticized for accepting thousands of pounds worth of freebies from betting companies.

She launched an investigation into the Gambling Commission last year. When asked to share their findings, the group declined. But the Guardian has obtained an excerpt of his report.

MEPs’ draft describes the commission as “urgently in need of change”, saying it is too tough and risks “destroying one of the world’s best gambling industries”. [sic]’, leading to growth in the black market.

She accuses the Commission of “acting ultra vires [beyond its remit] in his strategy to significantly reduce the number of problem gamblers”.

MEPs accuse the regulator, which has taken a tougher stance amid rising public concerns about gambling addiction, of exhibiting “bullying attitudes that have led to psychological harm in the industry” and call on the government to Decision to take “special measures” whether it can “continue like this”.

The intervention comes weeks before the government is due to release the results of a one-off review of gambling laws, with the commission believed to have a key role in finalizing proposals.

Several of the APPG MPs have criticized the acceptance of giveaways from the gambling industry while campaigning in Parliament or the media, although it is not against parliamentary rules if they do so.

The leader of the group, Conservative MP Scott Benton, accepted tickets worth £7,494.60 to Euro 2020 and Ascot last summer, courtesy of Ladbrokes owner Entain, online gambling firm Gamesys and the Betting and Gaming Council ( BGC), an industry lobby group.

Labor MP John Spellar’s days at Lord’s and Euro 2020, funded by Paddy Power owner Flutter and the BGC, were worth £2,835.80.

Conservative MP Aaron Bell, who used to work for Bet365, went to three matches of Euro 2020 with Entain, Flutter and Gamesys and picked up tickets worth £6,955.60. He told the Guardian last year that he had “explained any hospitality promptly and transparently”.

Another APPG member, Labour’s Conor McGinn, attended Euro 2020 and £2,479 Wimbledon with the BGC and Entain.

A Gambling Commission spokesman said: “Some sectors of the industry will never be satisfied with a regulator constantly pushing for safer gambling.” They said the commission “will need time to review this [the report’s] Content” and that it had not heard from the APPG before receiving it.

“As an industry regulator, we expect to hear from you in an official capacity to respond to views on the Gambling Commission and to correct inaccurate assumptions, as well as to share our regulatory approach,” they said.

Previous reports from the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office concluded that the regulator is not tough enough.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of campaign group Clean Up Gambling, said: “It’s amazing that in the middle of a gambling review, pro-industry MPs want to publish this ridiculous report complaining about regulation.

“The growth of online gambling and the damage it causes has increased exponentially under the oversight of the Gambling Commission. If anything, operators should thank the regulator. What we need is a regulatory overhaul that empowers the Gambling Commission to provide far stricter regulations, more comprehensive oversight of licensees and penalties for non-compliance.”

The Guardian has reached out to the APPG and MPs, who have received hospitality from the gaming industry, for comment.

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