Working together has never been more important for the Gambling Business Group

Peter Hannibal Gambling Business Group 2021 review
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The Gambling Business Group is going into 2022 with a clear focus and a campaigning zeal to represent high street gambling entertainment brands armed with the facts and the data necessary to combat the misinformation of anti-gambling pressure groups. As for the white paper, it’s asking that the industry is given the opportunity to innovate and that adults are allowed to choose how to spend their own money.

 

PETER HANNIBAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE THE GAMBLING BUSINESS GROUP

 

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?

Peter Hannibal: Looking back over the last 12-months no one could have anything but the utmost admiration for the fortitude and resilience of businesses in our industry and their never say die approach to bouncing back and achieving some type of normality.

The constant about this year has been change, challenges and frustrations. The government will undoubtedly come under the most forensic scrutiny for its handling of the virus and will find itself as the focus for great criticism but as balance it must also be congratulated for the furlough scheme which has kept millions in employment and helped to safeguard many thousands of businesses.

Overall, I would say that we have seen ‘history in the making’. When we look back at the ‘Covid Years’ it will be regarded as a period of re-adjustment. We will understand what we did right and what we did wrong, so we will be more resilient and prepared should something like this ever happen again.

My heart goes out to those businesses that are still struggling, and to those in the hospitality sector who rely on Christmas as a critical period to build turnover and earn profit.

Coinslot: We’ve had five months since re-opening, what were your highlights of the year?

Peter Hannibal: It was a huge relief to see bricks and mortar businesses reopening and many of them showing signs of early recovery. And it was also really important that the sector, despite all of the unique pressures it faced being the first to close and the last to open, did not suffer from large scale unemployment. In terms of a single highlight of the year I would say that it has to be ACOS: seeing so many colleagues inperson and listening to authentic face-to-face conversations after such a long period was a real pleasure.

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?

Peter Hannibal: In common with many organisations and businesses in the gaming and gambling sectors the Gambling Business Group has used 2021 as an opportunity to review the direction of travel and to have meaningful conversations with a broad church of stakeholders.

We have used it as a chance to consult very closely with our members, identifying their strategic needs for the next three years and aligning the GBG Strategy accordingly.

But we have to acknowledge that Covid is far from over. We may have to face the fact that we will be living with Covid as we do with other viruses for the long-term which means being agile, being ahead of the curve and not being afraid of addressing the big and sometimes unpalatable issues.

Coinslot: What are you looking or hoping for in 2022 and what’s on your New Year’s wish list?

Peter Hannibal: I am absolutely clear that 2022 has to be the year of collaboration. With the Gambling Act white paper due out, working together has never been more important. From a GBG perspective our top three wishes are for the industry to work more closely together and to defend itself against the anti-gambling lobby with hard facts and strong evidence, secondly, for the new team at the Gambling Commission to understand and appreciate the benefits of working collaboratively and genuinely with the sector on improving compliance and being more effective at protecting vulnerable customers. We would welcome this with open arms.

Thirdly, and most significantly, to ensure that the Gambling Act Review is everything that the Minister said it would be, respecting the freedom for adults to choose how they spend their money, enabling the industry to be competitive and for it to be able to innovate – all set against the backdrop of a commitment to safer gambling.


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