White Paper: Entain, Flutter, Fitzdares and Health Lottery respond

White Paper: Entain, Flutter, Fitzdares and Health Lottery CEOs respond

The UK’s betting and gaming industry is processing and reacting to the outcomes of the Gambling Act review White Paper, having waited over two years for government judgement on the sector’s regulatory future.

Issuing statements in the immediate aftermath of the publication, Entain and Flutter welcomed the White Paper as providing clarity for British betting to move forward. Meanwhile, in an exclusive statement to SBC, Fitzdares expressed hope that the industry has a positive future ahead.

Entain – benefits of a level playing field

SBC News White Paper: Entain, Flutter, Fitzdares and Health Lottery CEOs respond

The White Paper has been a talking point in nearly every Entain earnings call of late, with media and investors keen to hear the Ladbrokes and Coral parent company’s views on potentially seismic regulatory changes.

Back in October, Jette Nygaard-Anderson, Entain CEO, predicted that the ‘pro-industry government’ would introduce ‘balanced and proportionate regulation’ of betting with respect to individual consumers’ freedom of choice.

Commenting on yesterday’s revelations, the CEO said: “The UK Gambling Act Review is an important step towards having a robust regulatory framework that is fit for the digital age and creates a level playing field for all operators.

“We welcome the clarity that it will bring to the industry and customers. In leading the industry on player protection, we have already implemented a comprehensive range of actions to protect our customers, such as our industry-leading Advanced 

“Responsibility and Care safer gaming programme, personalised online slots staking limits, and the implementation of an affordability model across the UK. We are also extremely proud to have led the industry in 2019 by voluntarily agreeing to increase our levy donations to 1% of our UK gross gaming revenues.

“As a global and diversified business that operates in over 40 territories around the world, all of which are regulated or regulating, we are firmly in favour of regulation that preserves the market for the vast majority of customers who enjoy recreational betting and gaming, whilst also ensuring appropriate protection to all players.”

Flutter Entertainment – the costs of responsibility leadership

In its response to the news, Flutter described the review as ‘an important and necessary change’ by cementing standards and responsible gambling, whilst pointing to its own record on player protection and voluntary RET contributions. Flutter Entertainment Peter Jackson

The group did add, however, that its efforts to take a ‘leadership role’ on industry responsibility have seen £150m in revenue removed from its UK business. 

Looking ahead, the FTSE100 firm – shareholders of which have approved a US listing, with its North American FanDuel unit proving its biggest growth driver last year – projects impact on gross incremental revenue of between £50m-to-£100m as a ‘best view’.

“We welcome the publication of the White Paper, which marks a significant moment for the UK gambling sector,” Jackson remarked. “Whilst we will need to review the detail of the proposals, we believe proactive change will lead to a better future for our industry. 

“As such we have introduced industry-leading safer gambling controls via our ‘Play Well’” strategy over the last few years, including setting mandatory deposit limits for customers under age 25, reducing online slots staking limits to £10 per spin and making material investments in our safer gambling operational capabilities. 

“We will continue to constructively engage with the Government and Gambling Commission as part of any subsequent industry consultation processes, with a focus on providing support to the minority at risk of gambling harm without interfering disproportionately with the enjoyment of the vast majority.”

Flutter’s fiscal assessment of UK gambling’s future predicts that there will be ‘no incremental impact’ in 2023, as White Paper reforms will not take place until 2024, but that the total cumulative revenue impact of changes already in place will stand at £200m-to-£250m of its annual British revenue.

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In an exclusive statement to SBC Media, Fitzdares CEO William Woodhams reflected that ‘ultimately we have spent five years preparing for this day and there are no major surprises’.

Given that much of the review’s outcomes were revealed over the last few months, such as finance risk checks and tighter stake limits on slots, Woodhams’ assessment of the White Paper is far from inaccurate.

He added: “Second guessing affordability checks has cost the industry around 20% of business, so I do hope we can find a technology first solution to this. I really hope a line can be drawn now and the UK can get back to seeing betting as the fun and brilliant pastime that it is.”

The Health Lottery – one step ahead

For lotteries, the most significant aspect of the review saw the age limit for all products increased from 16 to 18. 

Whilst the National Lottery already had a minimum age of 18, for society lotteries such as The Health Lottery this was not the case, although the firm’s newly appointed CEO was keen to emphasise that it had already made this step. Lebby Eyres, Health Lottery CEO

“We fully support the government’s goal of preventing children from accessing gambling products,” Health Lottery CEO Lebby Eyres said in a statement released yesterday.

“As is stated in today’s publication, while the age limit to play the National Lottery was recently increased from 16 to 18, society lotteries were not required to follow suit. 

“However, we voluntarily raised the age of play for all The Health Lottery products sold in retail outlets to 18 in September last year as we take responsible play and the protection of children seriously. We had already raised the age to access our online offering to 18 in August 2020.”

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