Instance Automatics director Ian Eason has called out the regulator for sitting idle on black-market dealers – whilst simultaneously stonewalling legitimate licensees.
As the government continues to mull over its review of the Gambling Act, one leading industry supplier is finding himself increasingly in agreement with Labour MP Carolyn Harris’ assessment of the Gambling Commission – namely that it “isn’t fit for purpose.”
Harris made the damning remark during the presentation of a scathing National Audit Office review of the gambling watchdog’s productivity last year. At the time, Commission chief executive Neil McArthur responded to the report by claiming that its findings “underline the constraints [of] our current funding arrangements,” and said that GamCom was “developing proposals” to improve its enforcement capacities.
But for Instance Automatics’ Ian Eason, the intervening months have seen little in the way of progress when it comes to the Commission’s track-record on laying down the law when necessary.
“Recently we’ve seen a load of people on social media selling lots of AWP without licences, and also using illegal software,” he told us. “The Commission is sat on their arse at the moment doing pretty much nothing, so my question is – why aren’t they looking into this?”
“To be honest, I know of a few disgruntled licensed dealers that have contacted the GC about this – and yet still nothing has been done,” he went on. “The manufacturers are looking into a few people at the minute relating to fraudulent software use, and so it’s obvious that the Commission should get on their back and use their power and our licence money to actually take action and stop all this illegal stuff happening.”
And make no mistake, Eason’s position on this regulatory inertia is made all the more potent by the fact that his own recent dealings with the GC have seen it take such an inflexible approach when it comes to his own licence.
“I asked about the situation we are in – with the ongoing pandemic – and whether they could help us as our licence renewal was in November,” he explained. “I was told that we had to pay the licence or risk it being revoked.”
“I explained that around the world everyone is trying to help small business and so we expected that the GC would understand our businesses are on the wire,” he continued. “But no, they basically didn’t give a shit. They offered no help…all they did was send links to data relating to what you can and can’t do.”
And as always – Eason’s skill with prose always makes it smart to give him the final word on the subject. “I’d say throughout lockdown the Commission have been pathetic,” he said. “They just don’t give a flying fook.”