Tom Watson – ‘Gambling ombudsman is needed to protect UK consumers’

UK media, this morning reports that Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson has stated that his party will establish a ‘new gambling ombudsman to protect UK consumers’.

Watson follows his tough narrative on gambling, which last month saw the Labour deputy urge the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to undertake a thorough review of online casinos licensed after 2014.

Addressing ‘cross-party’ thinktank ‘Demos’, Watson is set to unveil an ‘overhaul of UK betting regulations’, with Labour seeking to establish a ‘new Gambling Act’, a ‘party review’ mandate published last September.

As previously announced, Labour will support the introduction of a new ‘compulsory 1% levy on operators Gross Gambling Yield’ – raising a target figure of £100 million to improve gambling harm/addiction resources.

Further directives, would see the Labour Party introduce a ban on Credit wagering across UK gambling verticals.

In relation to industry governance, Watson details that a new consumer ombudsman is needed to support the UKGC as national regulator and assist UK health stakeholders with research and treatment of problem gambling.

UK media reports that Watson believes that current UK gambling frameworks have failed consumers, allowing operators to carry-out ‘dirty deals’.

Labour’s deputy is expected to highlight that consumer reforms are needed, as the current regulatory regime can impose penalties on licensed operators, however, consumer compensation has been undermined by current regulatory frameworks.

“I cannot think of a single other types of transactional arrangement for goods or financial services that would allow this type of situation: unclear terms and conditions, a lack of transparency, a lack of framework – and fuelled by predatory bonus offers.” – Watson will tell his audience.

Watson will outline Labour’s push for a new UK gambling structure, in which the UKGC oversees operator standards and policies, assisted by an ombudsman settling consumer disputes.

Concluding his speech, Watson will underline that UK gambling’s current  voluntary system has allowed a number of operators to escape their civic duties, contributing nothing towards a ‘recommended

 

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