UK Reform Group Relaunches To Focus On The US

May 22, 2023
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Influential UK gambling pressure group “The Campaign for Fairer Gambling” is being relaunched to focus its efforts on the US online gambling market.

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Influential UK gambling pressure group “The Campaign for Fairer Gambling” is being relaunched to focus its efforts on the US online gambling market.

The group previously successfully led the fight for lower stakes for gaming machines in UK bookmakers, helping to usher in a £2 maximum stake limit for fixed-odds betting machines (FOBTs).

Derek Webb, the founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said he has relaunched the campaign to “provide the evidence-based approach to improve US remote gambling policy, legislation, regulation, and enforcement standards and reduce the associated harms”, in a recent open letter on the group’s website.

“Some operators repeatedly breach regulations, some profit from black markets, and some are now major players in the newly liberalised US remote gambling market. But in the start-up greed-rush, some US states have overlooked these bad practices, ignored the lessons from outside the US, and have not adequately prepared to mitigate the negatives of remote gambling expansion,” Webb wrote.

The group's objectives are to “raise standards at a state-by-state level while advocating for federal oversight of some aspects of gambling. This dual strategy should ensure that states are motivated to do better in order to minimise federal oversight, with the more forward-thinking states incentivized to encourage other states to raise standards.”

Webb said he has retained Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists Imperium Global Advisors for federal advice and for states advice will rely on Doura-Schawohl Consulting.

Webb also commented on the recent UK white paper, which he said is “imperfect”, but does include positive reforms and that pending consultations are “all good steps in the right direction to address the remote gambling legacy failures”.

He also dismissed the notion that industry reformers are “anti-gambling prohibitionists”, instead arguing that their intent is to “preserve access to lawful but safer gambling for consumers”.

Webb made his money in the gambling industry before helping to fund a host of gambling lobbying groups, such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm (APPG) and Peers for Gambling Reform (PGR).

Separately, the UK Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group has closed as an APPG for the foreseeable future, according to a post by its secretary Steve Donoughue on May 17.

In light of the upcoming Gambling Act white paper consultations, the APPG said it is setting up an informal network of those interested in the British gambling industry and it hopes to organise ad hoc meetings and discussions outside the formal parliamentary structure in the future.

Its most recent chair, Scott Benton, was caught in a sting by The Times newspaper offering to introduce parliamentary questions on behalf of the gambling industry and is currently under investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

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