Gambling legislation

Last month, a report by the Commons Culture Committee concluded that our gambling legislation was “outdated” and “ill-equipped” to deal with globalisation.

I strongly agree. Having worked in the industry for years, I know first hand that our legislation is lagging behind.

For example, you can only have four FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals) in a bookies. But over the last ten years, traditional betting has been almost entirely replaced by the use of FOBTs, and without them high street bookies would close. You could argue this is a good thing, but with millions out of work do we really want to go slashing many more jobs?

Secondly, we simply don’t have the legislation to deal with new technology. At Buzz, we developed a bespoke wireless terminal for our games. But what does this count as? A FOBT? It’s just a tablet computer in a case. Does that mean we can put them in pubs? Probably not. But if you took your own tablet into a pub, you could then gamble online. The Gambling Commission simply didn’t know what to do.

Thirdly, because of the online nature and high taxes in the UK, bookmakers can just move abroad – and most of them have. Running a website is the kind of thing you can do from Gibraltar, so they do. Not that it’s cheap – you have to pay staff a lot more money to go work out on some god-forsaken rock, but the tax difference is so great that is still works out cheaper. If we lowered taxes, we would bring that income back to the UK.

This is becoming more and more apparent, as services continue to move online. For example poker tournaments and live dealer casino games, once exclusively the preserve of the real world have now moved onto the internet. You can sit, at a table, with a live dealer, on the internet. When the technology is this good, we need to ensure that our legislation can keep pace with it, or we’re only hurting ourselves.



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 11:41 am and is filed under Religion & Politics, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.