An amendment to the Gambling Act on sharing information on potential
corruption is being
implemented ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
Suspicious activity to be shared more widely
proposed amendment to the Gambling Act will allow the Gambling Com-
mission to share informa- tion with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on suspicious betting related activity.
Discussions have been ongoing between the IOC and DCMS regarding the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games and strengthening the ability of the IOC to receive and share informa- tion, should any threats to betting integrity arise during the course of the Games. Currently, the Gambling Commission can only share limited information with sports governing bodies (SGB) unless the body is specifically listed in the Gambling Act 2005. The gov- ernment is planning to amend this in order to add the IOC and is also consult- ing on whether any addi- tional sports bodies should also be included.
The government is pro- posing to add both interna- tional and national SGBs to parts 2 and 3 of Schedule 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 to better reflect the sports bodies that the Gambling
Commission deals with on a regular basis, and to ensure the coverage of the main sports and major sporting events in the UK.
The DCMS has taken into account that the Commis- sion’s Sports Betting Integrity Unit has closed 107 betting integrity cases between September 2007 and March 2011 - with foot- ball, greyhounds, snooker, tennis, horseracing, cricket, rugby, boxing, darts, golf, bowls and squash all featur- ing. The government has also acknowledged the volume of betting on sport with tennis, snooker, rugby, greyhounds, golf, darts, cricket, motorsport and boxing all representing up to 5 per cent of betting volumes, and horseracing
As one of the more permissive jurisdictions when it comes to betting, the last thing the government or the industry wants is a betting scandal at the London 2012 games, not least because such an occurrence elsewhere will no doubt be used as justification for either extracting more money out of betting for sport or even clamping down on the industry with draconian regulation. The good news is that the sporting bodies will have to demonstrate their professionalism before being involved. But the ideal outcome to any amendment should be betting, government and sport all working together to tackle corruption.
and football considerably more.
This is why domestically the DCMS wants to add ‘appropriate’ UK governing bodies covering darts, bowls, squash and motor- sport to Schedule 6 which already covers nine of the largest sports that are played across the UK. The international bodies that the government is con- sidering adding are the IOC, the International Cricket Council (ICC), UEFA, FIFA, the International Tennis Federation, the World Pro- fessional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and the Interna- tional Rugby Board. The government said: “We anticipate greater interest in these events and appreci-
ate the desire for organisers to have these safeguards in place to ensure sports betting integrity is not com- promised. We recognise the benefits in attracting world- class competition in any given sport and appreciate the importance of being able to demonstrate to the rele- vant international SGBs that we have appropriate safe- guards in place to preserve sports integrity in relation to betting in the UK.” However, the govern- ment has been moved to underline that the regulator will not be handing over data without the necessary safe- guards. It explained: “The provision of information by the Commission to relevant third parties (on Parts 2 and 3 of the Schedule) is still conditional upon these parties applying satisfac- tory information handling procedures and appropriate security controls. The Com- mission would continue to restrict the exchange of information with those that do not have appropriate information handling pro- cedures, security controls or the ability to be able to act on the information in the furtherance of the licensing objectives.”
THE GOVERNMENT IS
TAKING ACTION AHEAD OF NEXT YEAR’S OLYMPIC GAMES
GREaT takes over helpline negotiations
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY T
he fall out from the dis- integration of the tri- partite scheme to
tackle problem gambling has seen the GREaT Foun- dation (GREaT) now take over the Responsible Gam- bling Fund’s (RGF) negotia- tions with GamCare regarding a National Gam- bling Helpline.
New GREaT chief execu-
tive Marc Etches explained: “Given the current circum- stances, we have agreed with RGF to take over the negotiations with GamCare regarding a National Gam- bling Helpline directly, and have committed to reach- ing agreement for a minimum two-year con- tract by 30 September 2011.”
Etches said that GREaT will ensure that any future contract will be demanding of GamCare in terms of its future competitiveness, transparency, and value for money.
A spokesperson for RGF added: “We’ve done all of the legwork over the last 18 months. That includes taking advice from helpline experts and developing a specification for a more accessible, better known, better value for money and free-to-all National Gam- bling Helpline, so our hope is that GREaT will feel able take this forward. We’re happy to pass on all the expert advice we’ve gath-
MARC ETCHES: WILL ‘FUTURE
COMPETITIVENESS, TRANSPARENCY, AND VALUE FOR MONEY’
ered as well as contacts in order to give a fair wind to chances of success.” It was the desire of the RGF/Responsible Gam- bling Strategy Board (RGSB) for an ‘indepen- dent’ national helpline that first highlighted the cracks that would eventually lead to the winding down of the two bodies in favour of a more simple structure headed up by GREaT. GamCare saw it as an attempt to divert funding from its well-regarded and established helpline and the industry started to become concerned at how its funds were being used. In the end, the compromise has been found of GamCare running the new national helpline.
GREaT chairman Neil Goulden commented: “GREaT’s trustees are pleased that our offer to intervene in the negotia- tions has been accepted by RGF. A National Gambling Helpline is an important element of the support infrastructure for those that experience problems with their gambling. However, it is equally important that the industry that volunteers to fund it should be satisfied that their donations are spent wisely, deliver value for money and maximise effective outcomes for those who require care and support.”
MP wants return of demands test PLANNING
betting shops in the UK by changing their planning class. Joan Ruddock, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, introduced her bill using the 10 Minute Rule before the recess and is proposing that betting shops be given their own planning class, which
private members bill is looking to change planning laws for
would require the granting of planning permission for any new LBO. The bill would also require that local planning authorities assess demand for betting shops when considering applications for premises in that planning use class and place a cap on the number of betting shops for which planning permission may be granted in any area.
16 BettingBusinessInteractive • SEPTEMBER 2011
Despite suggesting that betting shops attract anti- social behaviour, Ruddock commented: “I am not opposed to betting, and it is clear that many of my constituents use such facil- ities; rather, it is the number of betting shops that is the problem and the lack of any opportunity for local people to have a say on the profound changes
affecting their environ- ment.”
Ruddock’s bill has the support of fellow MPs Debbie Abrahams, Heidi Alexander, Tom Brake, Mark Field, Mike Gapes, David Lammy, Tony Lloyd, Andrew Love, Caroline Lucas, Tessa Munt and Virendra Sharma. It is due to receive its second reading in the House of
Commons on 20 January 2012.
Ruddock said: “Taking betting shops out of their current place in use classes order A2 alongside banks and building soci- eties would make it possi- ble to make planning judgments appropriate to the local area. Local plan- ning authorities would be able to assess demand for
betting shops, and indeed place a cap on the number of betting shops for which planning permission may be granted. This simple measure would not inhibit the industry from creating a natural spread of outlets, but it would give some hope to areas such as mine, in which extreme clusters are totally unac- ceptable.”
ACTION IMAGES / LEE MILLS LIVEPIC
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