Senior MP calls for British Gambling Commission to be axed

Iain Duncan Smith called for the government to create a new independent regulatory body.
Iain Duncan Smith called for the government to create a new independent regulatory body.

Iain Duncan Smith has said the government should “get rid of the Gambling Commission altogether” in its review of gambling legislation.

UK.- Senior British member of parliament, Iain Duncan Smith, has called for the UK’s current gaming regulator, the Gambling Commission, to be scrapped.

Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related harm (APPG). The APPG has been one of the most vocal campaigners for a shakeup of British gambling legislation.

Now that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has announced the start of its review of the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act with a view to overhauling legislation, Duncan Smith has repeated his view that the regulator should be axed.

He wrote in a comment piece for PoliticsHome: “The government should also use this opportunity to not only review the powers of the Gambling Commission but to be rid of it altogether and instead institute a regulatory body that independently monitors the industry. 

“Now is the time to make bold moves, to make sure we get proper control and that the abuses and the addiction end.”

He said that the Gambling Commission’s lack of action had allowed the “gambling industry and its profits to grow exponentially extracting most of their money from those who are most addicted – with 60 per cent of the profits coming from just 5 per cent of gamblers, who are those likely to be experiencing harm”.

Duncan Smith has previously criticised the UKGC for working in partnership with the industry on several projects, including consulting GVC Holdings on the development of a code of conduct for VIPs earlier in the year.

In the same piece, Duncan Smith restated his opinion that VIP schemes should be banned completely.

He wrote: “I hope the government will use this review to deal with the most pernicious aspects of gambling, such as so-called VIP schemes which deliberately force gamblers into high levels of debt. It is my view that these should be banned outright.”

He also called for the introduction of a statutory “smart levy” to fund research, education and treatment, a statutory duty of care, the introduction of a gambling ombudsman and limits on stakes and spending limits for online gaming.

He said: “This time the government must be clear: the industry is in dire need of a reset. The gambling industry must be made to understand the extent of the responsibilities it holds in order that the public can be better served.”

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