The UK’s Labour party wants to establish an ombudsman for the country’s gambling industry, with the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson claiming that the current regulations do not provide sufficient protection for customers. Watson expects that by implementing an ombudsman into the UK’s gambling industry, customers will finally have a specific formal body to turn to for issues with financial compensations.
What will an ombudsman bring to the UK’s gambling industry?
This ombudsman would have the ability to apply penalties to any and all registered gambling operators that fail to meet the regulatory requirements they have to help reduce the risk of problem gambling. In addition to this, this new regulation tactic would also conduct investigations into operator’s terms and conditions, and ensure that all gambling platforms are operating within the government’s established guidelines for gambling practices.
The inclusion of an ombudsman is a much thought about topic throughout the gambling industry, with Justice for Punters’s Brian Chappell commenting that “Its nearly three years since we first discussed an ombudsman for gambling with the powers that be, so we’re delighted it’s now been considered seriously in parliament. It should make gambling fairer and safer, and good for the consumer.”
Mr Watson’s proposal urges for the development of a new regulatory body, focused entirely on the protection of gambling customers. Although this is currently overseen by the main regulatory body for the UK’s gambling industry the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Watson suggests that this has been unsuccessful in providing the levels of protection needed to properly prevent customers from gambling-related harm.
In response to this, the deputy leader for the UK’s Labour party is proposing a regulatory structure that will be more focused on gamblers treatment and exposure to problem gambling. Watson has commented the following in reflection to the reasons behind his new proposal: “I cannot think of a single other type of transactional arrangement for goods or financial services that would allow this type of situation: unclear terms and conditions, a lack of transparency, a lack of framework – and fuelled by predatory bonus offers.”
What else will this proposal mean?
Through Watson’s proposal, the UKGC would not only be required oversee the country’s gambling operators, but a specialist programme operated through the National Health Service (NHS) would be established in addition to the previously mentioned ombudsman, helping to protect customers from falling into problem gambling, and other related issues.
The specialist programme operated through the NHS would be focused on bettering not only an understanding of gambling-related harms, but also effectiveness in the treatment for problem gambling and gambling addiction.
The current regulatory structure imposed by the UKGC is focused on applying fees to gambling operators that do not adhere to the country’s rules and regulations regarding gambling practices. However, this service is restricted in the attention it can give to gambling customers; unable to properly help the victims of penalised gambling operators in getting their money back. This new scheme proposed by the UK’s Labour party could therefore go a long way in helping to improve gambling practices, improving the way in which the country regulates its gambling practices.