As the Gambling Commission takes aim at Cat D, Sam Spencer mixes his metaphors to suggest the regulator is wasting energy on chasing rabbits, while allowing wolves to prowl.
When the DCMS suggested Bacta must provide potential player protection measures on Cat D to allow stakes and prizes to be increased,the industry was
setaback. Quite simply,there has never been any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to suggest that players need any kind of protection from Cat D, so it was perceived by most as a misunderstanding.
“How do we provide protection from a machine which presents no harm?”, was the industry response. It was thought that further conversations with the department, and indeed the Gambling Commission, would clear up this clash of logic.
However, as is shown from the regulator’s report last week on ‘Children, young people and gambling’, the Commission is actually aiming to expand the misunderstanding further: Not only must the industry provide player protection measures on Cat D if they want a stake and prize increase, operators must now provide measures on products that have proven to cause no problems for decades. The self-described ‘evidence-based’ regulator takes this position, all the while confessing there is “no compelling evidence” to do so.
But if the call is not evidence-based, what is its origin? Emotion? Instinct? Opportunism? These are the motivators of a dictator, not a dignified regulator. Why is the Gambling Commission chasing rabbits,and targeting FEC operators without evidence,when there are clearly wolves elsewhere in the industry that should be caught? Why,when presented with evidence that FOBTs must have a £2 maximum stake, do they shoot for £30 with rubber bullets? Then a few months later, reload,and aim at Cat D – the safest product in the industry – with hollow-points? Something doesn’t quite add up.