Spray Lakes Consultancy has only been in existence for some six months but founder Nick Harding has been round the block more than a few times occupying a number of senior industry roles. Not one to sit on the fence he argues that the Commission’s Andrew Rhodes is someone the industry could work with, bemoans the behaviour of mainstream media during Covid and argues for the return of the Triennial Review process in order that stake and prize levels keep pace with inflation.
NICK HARDING FOUNDER AND CEO SPRAY LAKES CONSULTANCY
Coinslot: A year that opened in lockdown, staggered through to reopening, via a supply chain crisis and ending with Omicron: how will you look back on 2021?
Nick Harding: Like many people I think the last two years have been a sort of time warp in which we have either lost two years altogether (and have to constantly remind ourselves that the last time we met face-to-face was actually in 2019) or else everything has just slowed down and business has been artificially supported by the state and at the same time wrecked by the state.
I have also been very concerned at the way that the mainstream media has behaved over the past two years: whether you believe that government has taken the right steps or the wrong steps either way you are entitled to feel that – to a large extent – you can believe what you are being told.
I think we have drifted away from that important premise and once all the reviews start in earnest that is one of the key issues that must be addressed.
Coinslot: We’ve had five months since re-opening, what were your highlights of the year?
Nick Harding: I now run Spray Lakes a consultancy that is aimed almost exclusively at the Betting and Gaming industry.
It won’t come as any great surprise when I say that the first six months of the year were quiet but it has been nice to see that since September work is starting to flow, mainly in the Compliance and Licensing sector at present but I do feel that we are on a glide path towards the end of this situation and that means that many businesses are going to be looking for experienced help and advice to get back up to speed as swiftly as possible.
Coinslot: 2021 has been a major challenge to the way our businesses operate. How have you risen to this challenge and what new developments are you introducing to rebuild and strengthen your operation?
Nick Harding: Essentially, Spray Lakes accepts challenges on behalf of other organisations and therefore I am constantly looking for more people to join the dynamic Spray Lakes team and grow our pool of talent.
Coinslot: What are you looking or hoping for in 2022 and what’s on your New Year’s wish list?
Nick Harding: Would it be trite to say normality? Recently, Andrew Rhodes, the new CEO at the Gambling Commission gave an excellent speech to the GambleAware conference and I for one was impressed with his presence and forthright views. He looks like a man who will firstly stand no nonsense, but also will be someone that the industry can have a meaningful dialogue with.
On my wish list for the UK industry is a sensible and deliverable White Paper in the Spring which will be brought onto the statute book in the Autumn without too much kicking and screaming from some sectors. In the wake of Covid we really do not need a long standstill of license applications or reviews, we need to move ahead with a new regulatory platform as quickly as possible.
And finally, at the risk of showing my age, please can we see a return to the Triennial Review process?