As gambling regulations in the UK are getting stricter, some gaming and betting firms shared their concerns that a proposed crackdown on the gambling industry will be devastating for the sector. Executives of some of the biggest gambling companies in the UK market lobbied government officials against the gambling crackdown planned to come into force with the introduction of the white paper on gambling regulations.
In other news from last week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) asked the court to allow the regulator to continue with the process of transferring the National Lottery licence to Allwyn. Meanwhile, in an attempt to prevent the licensing process, Camelot claimed that it will cease to exist if the new National Lottery licence goes to Allwyn.
UK’s Biggest Gambling Companies Lobby Government Officials Against Gambling Crackdown
As the UK Government is preparing to publish a white paper on gambling reforms, a few of the biggest gaming and betting firms operating in the country tried to persuade government officials to give up on radical changes in gambling regulations.
As it was revealed by the Guardian, gambling companies warned Treasury and Revenue and Customs officials that a radical crackdown on the gambling industry could force players to switch to the black market. The firms that spoke to government officials included Bet365, Paddy Power, and Ladbrokes. As the meeting was between representatives of the companies and tax officials, rather than ministers, there was no requirement for the disclosure of the conversation.
According to gambling companies, the yearly amount of £3.2 billion that the industry is paying the Treasury in the form of taxes could be seriously affected by the proposed crackdown on gambling. This meeting happened just as the white paper on gambling reforms is about to be published very soon.
The gambling companies’ attempt to appease government officials was criticised by the director of Clean Up Gambling, Matt Zard-Cousin. He believed that gaming and betting firms were trying to weaken the proposed industry reforms by having a private meeting with tax officials. Zard-Cousin shared that this move was huge propaganda that came from the sector that spent years avoiding taxes. He hoped that the Treasury was not fooled and will be open about the said lobbying campaign.
Under the freedom of information laws, last week, documents were released, providing information about the private meeting. On 7 October of last year, representatives from Bet365, Entain, and Flutter held an online meeting with tax officials from the Treasury and Revenue and Customs. The gambling firms shared concerns about the effects new harsher regulations may have on the gambling industry in the UK.
The gaming and betting businesses used a PricewaterhouseCoopers report that revealed increasing numbers of unlicensed gambling operations in the UK. According to the major gambling companies, an extreme crackdown on gambling would only boost the black market, forcing more players to choose unlicensed operators for their gambling activities.
Meanwhile, after it was revealed that major gambling businesses had a meeting with tax specialists, Treasury officials commented that they regularly contact stakeholders from businesses operating in the gambling sector to get their point of view.
UKGC Asks Court to Continue with Licensing Process, Camelot Says It Will Cease Operations if Allwyn Gets National Lottery Licence
After the UKGC announced the Czech company, Allwyn, as the new holder of the National Lottery licence, Camelot Group and gambling entrepreneur Richard Desmond, legally challenged the Commission’s decision. Due to the legal actions taken against the regulator’s choice, the UKGC is prevented from continuing with the transferring of the licence to Allwyn.
The case of the losing bidders in the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition will take their case to court in October. Until then, the UKGC is not allowed to continue with the process of transferring the licence to Allwyn.
Last week, the regulator’s lawyers were preparing to ask the high court to temporarily remove the restrictions and allow the UKGC to sign the “enabling agreement” with the new licence holder. The reasoning for this request was the potential delay that this temporary block may cause, ultimately risking any good cause payments made by the National Lottery.
According to sources familiar with the case, it is the Commission’s eagerness to continue with the licence transfer that may actually cause risks for charity and sporting institution payments. If the Commission’s request for the lift of the block is approved, it will not be possible to reverse the transfer of the National Lottery licence to Allwyn.
Meanwhile, Camelot told the high court that it will cease to exist if the National Lottery licence is handed to Allwyn. According to Sarah Hannaford, representative of the UKGC, Camelot UK was launched in 1994 solely for the purpose of running the National Lottery in the UK. She claimed that Camelot UK agreeing to operate as a Special Vehicle Company (SVP), is one of the risks that come along with contracts with authorities such as the UKGC.