Steven Donoughue: “Prohibition and populism have never been stronger”

The APBGG has reduced its activities and closed its website.
The APBGG has reduced its activities and closed its website.

Steve Donoughue has lambasted changes in the All-Party Betting and Gaming Group as the UK reviews gambling legislation 

UK.- The gambling industry consultant Steve Donoughue has resigned from his position as secretariat of the UK parliament’s All-Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG) following the appointment of the group’s new chair, the MP Laurence Robertson.

Robertson has taken a decision to reduce the group’s activities, which will include the termination of the group’s industry seminars and the closure of its website, apbgg.org.

In his parting message to members of the group, Donoughue was highly critical of the decision.

In a letter to members of the group, Donoughue wrote: “After discussions with the chair it has become obvious that my services are no longer required.

“As I work, voluntarily, at the behest of the chair, there is nothing I can do about it and so my 15 years in the role must come to an end.

“During this time I have enjoyed myself thoroughly under the expert joint chairmanships of Baroness Golding and Lord Lipsey followed by an enormously fun decade under Philip Davies MP.

“As a group we have had a hugely influential impact on gambling policy and I feel proud to have been a part of it even if it was mostly just administratively.”

“The forces of prohibition and populism have never been stronger

Donoughue’s departure comes as the UK government begins its review of gambling legislation with a view to introduce sweeping changes.

He wrote: “I think it is a crying shame that at this time when the expertise of the group is needed most, when the forces of prohibition and populism have never been stronger in their emotive and evidence-light attacks on a great industry and the potential of a massive black market explosion due to over-regulation, especially the fatally flawed concept of affordability, is imminent that the group has been effectively put in aspic and no longer has an independent voice.

“This may or may not be due to the new chair’s role as paid adviser to the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), but it goes against the very nature of what the group was set up to be which was a forum for discussion about the gambling industry.”

See also: UK gambling firms propose ban on high risk clients

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