Iain Duncan Smith: Radical change requires Gambling Commission to be axed

Senior Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith has reiterated his call for the government ‘to get rid of the Gambling Commission altogether’, as DCMS begins its long-awaited review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Writing in Commons news source PoliticsHome, Duncan Smith stated that the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm had been the only committee to maintain pressure on the government to carry out its review of the gambling sector.

“We have been calling for reform of our gambling laws for many years, and so I very much welcome the launch of the long-awaited gambling review published this week,” Duncan Smith wrote.

The former leader of the Conservative Party (2001-2003) said that APPG’s countless first-hand accounts of gambling harms ruining young peoples’ lives should form part of DCMS inquiry.

Addressing gambling’s current regulatory structures, Duncan Smith blasted the UKGC of inaction which had led the “gambling industry and its profits to grow exponentially extracting most of their money from those who are most addicted – with 60 percent of the profits coming from just 5 percent of gamblers, who are those likely to be experiencing harm”.

At the start of the year, Duncan Smith publicly criticised the UKGC for consulting GVC Holdings on how to develop a ‘code of conduct’ on high-value customers (VIPs).

Duncan Smith reiterated his previous stance that not only should the government review the Commission, “but to be rid of it altogether and instead institute a regulatory body that independently monitors the industry”.

Despite all UK operators agreeing to restructure and audit their VIPs programmes, Duncan Smith maintains that all VIP customer schemes should be banned outright as the ‘most pernicious aspect of gambling’ driving players into high levels of debt.

Ending his statement, Duncan Smith told ministers of their duties in not holding back from undertaking radical reforms, needed to prevent ‘gambling addiction from becoming the public health crisis of our time’.

“This time the government must be clear: the industry is in dire need of a reset,” he concluded. “The gambling industry must be made to understand the extent of the responsibilities it holds in order that the public can be better served.”

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