British Gambling Associations Set To Merge

Viktor Vangelov | Published 26 Feb 2019, 1:17 p.m.

In the past few months in the UK, there have been few initiatives regarding gambling, mostly attempts to restrict certain aspects of the industry. Gambling associations that are active in the UK realised that they need to do something about the situation before it is too late, so they joined forces and formed a new trade group that will protect their interests and lobby politicians on behalf of the industry.

The past activities of the UK Gambling Commission sure gave operators and other stakeholders every reason to form NEWCO. The new body will replace the former Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB).

Few New Restrictions Introduced This Year

In 2019 so far, the UK gambling authorities launched the following initiatives. First, at the beginning of the year came the plan of the UK Government to tackle problem gambling. Some of the operators have been fined and the fines were pretty hefty. Plus, a new gambling clinic will be opened in the north of the country.

At the beginning of this month the UKGC announced new rules to improve fairness and safety. The two new rules will be enforced from the 7th of May this year onwards. Despite all new restrictions, Online slots gaming in the UK is on the rise, but we are yet to see what will the numbers be like this year. The total gross gambling yield for last year grew by 13.7% compared to the previous financial year which is remarkable.

Last Week, the Commission announced that it is gathering information on two issues, namely credit card gambling and Category B gambling machines. Stakeholders and other interested parties are expected to submit their opinions and contribute to the Commission’s decision.

The RGA And ABB Are No More, Welcome NEWCO

With the two bodies merging, the industry as a whole will likely have a greater voice and will be in a position to stand against the anti-gambling wave. NEWCO is a working name for the new body, we are yet to see what this new organisation will be called. The Remote Gambling Association and the Association of British Bookmakers will cease to exist following the merger.

An industry source has already confirmed that the two bodies have the intention to merge into one, adding that this will enable them to protect their interest better, especially with all the talk about new restrictions and regulations that will undoubtedly make things a lot more difficult for operators and other gambling companies.

The new body is yet to choose an CEO and a chairman that will lead them. It is clear that this will be the largest and most organised body that represents the industry as a whole.

All candidates that aim to assume one of the mentioned positions will need to show a successful track record when it comes to influencing political elites, including Whitehall, Westminster, but also potentially Brussels. Candidates also need to have relevant experience with media, especially when it comes to politically sensitive topics.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling see the formation of the new body as a victory for them, as they claim that the organisation was formed due to the fact that the current organisations realised their mistakes, especially on the issue of fixed odds betting terminals.