The Betting and Gaming Council Supports Complaints Ombudsman
The Betting and Gaming Council has added its support for the creation of a Gambling Ombudsman that would oversee customer complaints about the industry. The trade body would like to see the changes as part of the Gambling Act 2005 review currently underway.
The trade body representing the majority of UK-facing operators has called on the UK government to introduce a Gambling Ombudsman, which would be a point of contact for consumers.
The Betting and Gaming Council has added its support for creating a new regulatory body that they claim would bring consistency to the consumer complaints process.
The long-awaited review of the Gambling Act is likely to introduce new ways of working for operators. In the ministerial foreword of the review, Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, set out the review aims.
Stating the government would create a regime of regulation that was “fit for the digital age”, he acknowledged that the gambling market had evolved enormously over the last fifteen years. However, he also highlighted that mobile devices had given more opportunities for consumers to gamble, and although the Gambling Commission had broad powers to enforce licence conditions, the number of high-profile enforcement cases had demonstrated that too many people are experiencing significant harm.
Adding: “We want to look at whether our regulatory framework is effective and whether further protections are needed.”
Huddlestone said the review was a chance to assess if the balance was right, adding: “Gambling is a fun leisure activity for many people, with nearly half of adults gambling each month. We respect the freedom of adults to choose how they spend their money and the value of a responsible industry which protects players, provides jobs and pays taxes.”
However, Huddlestone added: “But it is essential that we prevent exploitation of vulnerable people and protect individuals, families and communities from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm. “We need to ensure our regulatory and legislative systems continue to deliver on the original aims of the 2005 Act, which remain the government’s priorities: the protection of children and vulnerable people in a fair and open gambling economy which is also crime-free.”
The Betting and Gaming Council believe that an ombudsman, separate to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), is likely to be one of the options MPs are considering and have added their backing to the idea.
The chief executive of the BGC supports this idea and says this proves that the industry is determined to drive up standards. He feels that introducing an independent body would improve the customer experience and make the complaints process more consistent.
Dugher said: “We hope the government will look favourably on our calls for a Gambling Ombudsman to be established as soon as possible following the conclusion of the review, which we strongly support.
“The BGC and its members recognise the need for further change in our industry, and a new Gambling Ombudsman would be a step forward in customer redress,”
Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter Entertainment added his support, saying: “At the heart of our business is a focus on our customers – both delivering great entertainment and making sure that it is always underpinned by increasingly robust safer gambling practices.
“And true commitment to putting customers first also means making sure that they have somewhere independent to go if something does go amiss.
“That is why Flutter is fully behind the call from the BGC today for the government to include an ombudsman in its plans for reform of the gambling industry,”
The Gambling Commission are likely to be a department that is shaken up by any new proposals. Opponents of the current structure have criticised how funding for the Commission is dependant on voluntary contributions and operator fines.
While many call for the introduction of a betting levy to recover some of the costs incurred due to problem gambling.