20th September 2021
Reshuffle – As you will be aware the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, last week reshuffled his Government. Wholesale changes at the DCMS meant we have a new Secretary of State in Nadine Dorries, and the Gambling Minister, John Whittingdale departed to the back benches. This is hugely disappointing. John was well known to us and understood us and our issues. He was politically liberal and therefore well-disposed to our asks in the Gambling Review. As of now we do not know who within the DCMS team will pick up the gambling brief. My expectation and hope is that it will be Nigel Huddleston the Tourism Minister who looked after gambling before John Whittingdale took it over in the Spring. We get on well with Nigel and he will have knowledge that will be important in getting the Review over the line. Whom ever gets the job we will of course continue with our engagement to ensure the result of the Review is as optimal as it can be for this sector.
Safer Gambling Week – The week is approaching quickly (1st to 7th November) and I hope members will have plans in place to support the gambling industry’s efforts to raise awareness of social responsibility tools for players. AGC members have committed to include SGW posters in their windows and machine top boxes will also carry SGW messages. Collateral can be downloaded from the SGW website https://safergamblinguk.org. The below Briefing Document will tell you all you need to know.SG-Week-2021-Promotional-Brief-GB-Ireland_-September-FINAL.pdf (13 downloads)
Self-Exclusion – IF YOU USE BACTA’S SELF-EXCLUSION SERVICE AND HAVE NOT SIGNED THE DATA SHARING AGREEMENT WITH US YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO SELF-EXCLUDE CUSTOMERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LCCP FROM THRUSDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER WHEN THE BACTA PORTAL GOES LIVE. THE GAMBLING COMMISSION IS AWARE OF THIS AND WATCHING US CLOSELY. PLEASE IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO GET THE AGREEMENT TO US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Destination Management Organisations – Members may recall that there is currently a review into the role of destination management organisations (DMOs) in England led by Nick de Bois. His report has just been published and made a number of sensible recommendations in line with those from the Tourism Alliance which were supported by bacta. I won’t go in to all the detail here (there is a lot of it) but if anyone wants a copy to read let me know. Government now has to respond and say what if anything it will do.
C-zi Patel – In case any members were not aware we were sad to hear that C-Zi, Technical Director at Nayax, passed away unexpectedly last week. His funeral is at 2.30 a.m. today, 20th September and can be streamed. If anyone would like details please get in touch.
Review of gambling principles – Many members, like us, will receive copies of local council’s proposals to amend their statement of principles. There is rarely anything to comment upon but if members are contacted it might be worth responding by requesting support for our proposals in the gambling review, particularly around machine licensing in pubs. If you do get a letter inviting you to comment, the below draft is worth sending off.
Thank you for your letter of XXX enclosing the Council’s proposed new statement of gambling policy.
We have no comment per se on the proposed changes but I would like to highlight the unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy for both the Council and suppliers of gaming machines that arises from the current requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.
The Government is currently conducting a review of the Gambling Act. My trade body, bacta, has amongst other things that the bureaucracy and cost of local councils being notified of an automatic entitlement to gambling machines that arises from liquor or club licenses, be removed. It seems nonsensical to go through the notification process when there is nothing the local council can do other than note that the pub or club has installed the machines it is legally entitled to. I hope you will be able to support this suggestion.
As always please do pick up the phone if you need to chat to me about any of the above issues. We have a busy few weeks coming up with the Division Committees and Party Conferences as well as planning for the Parliamentary Reception on 24th November and the Convention the following day.