The Gambling Business Group are weighing up the options for the industry under a new majority government. “It’s a once in a generation opportunity,” says CEO Peter Hannibal who is determined to drive through new gambling legislation that will bolster the industry rather than hinder it...
The Gambling Business Group are weighing up the options for the industry under a new majority government. “It’s a once in a generation opportunity,” says CEO Peter Hannibal who is determined to drive through new gambling legislation that will bolster the industry rather than hinder it…
I believe the most positive outcome from the General Election is the fact that we do not have the stasis of a ‘hung parliament’”, Peter Hannibal, CEO of the Gambling Business Group, was quick to note as he sat down to consider the industry’s reaction to a landslide Tory victory. “To have had to continue with MPs scrapping over Brexit would have created protracted uncertainty for the entire country on both a business and a personal level.”
There is a hint of relief in Hannibal’s tones; after all, a clear mandate will deliver a far clearer direction of travel. But the GBG chief will not sign support over easily. “A majority Conservative government was always going to be better for business, however, the real impact will not be understood until the new government is bedded in and can move beyond simply Brexit, as important as that is for the British economy.”
Hannibal is conscious of what the effects will be on the lives of his customers, the great British public. “We are mindful of the impact of policy on disposable income. Is the person in the street going to feel better or worse off and how confident are they about the future? A relaxed and confident population is much more likely to invest in the leisure economy of which gambling is an important part.”
To that end, Boris Johnson has played his role: talking the country up, promising investment in infrastructure, persuading swathes of ordinary people that life, under his government, will be that much more hopeful, and signalling that business is better under Boris. Hannibal is hoping this will play out. More importantly, however, he is determined that the industry must be ready.
“In an ideal world? The industry needs to come together and work with the new team and ministers at the DCMS on plotting the road map for UK gambling legislation and regulation. Everyone knows that the existing Act is not fit for purpose and it’s our opportunity to help fashion a new regulatory framework that combines our commitment to and desire for socially responsible gambling legislation with an acceptance that for the overwhelming majority of the population gambling is just part of the entertainment mix,” he explained.
“All of this needs to be set against the backdrop of the constant advances in technology. It’s a once in a generation opportunity. But we are not in an ideal world…”
A note of caution? Possibly. But then Hannibal has seen governments come and go, none of which have delivered on their promises to the industry.
So, how does he hope to change this cycle?
“They mustn’t go rushing into anything that hasn’t been properly planned, researched and the consequences fully thought through,”the GBG chief advised. “We will continue to call for an evidence based approach to regulation and continue to call for a new Prevalence Study to establish a new baseline for problem gambling statistics in the UK.
“We remain perplexed that amidst the flurry of calls for more SR initiatives, increased funding, increased protections, nobody is backing our proposal for an updated Prevalence Study with which to guide these initiatives? Surely, every stakeholder wants to use a rifle and not a shotgun to address what is such a crucial issue?”
But Hannibal is looking forward to the opportunity to get this point across. And soon.
“We are delighted to see the excellent Nicky Morgan staying on at the DCMS and will be seeking an early meeting with her to discuss the urgent need for new research.” The GBG are wasting no time in moving the agenda forward.