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UK to Establish Gambling Ombudsman?

The UK government should create a gambling ombudsman to handle customer complaints, according to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

The call came as ministers continue with the Gambling Act review, and they are expected to publish a white paper at the end of the year. Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, said that the call for creating an ombudsman is evidence of the regulated industry’s desire to see standards improved.

The BGC believes that all licensed betting and gaming operators should be legally required to sign up to the body.

Michael Dugher BGC Chief Executive

We hope that the government will look favorably on our calls for a gambling ombudsman to be established as soon as possible following the conclusion of the gambling review, which we strongly support. The BGC and its members recognize the need for further change in our industry, and a new gambling ombudsman would be a step forward in customer redress – I’m proud to be giving it our backing.

Michael DugherBGC Chief Executive

The idea has been lent support by Conor Grant, the chief executive of Flutter UK (LON: FLTR) and Ireland. He said that customers need somewhere independent that they can turn to if they are experiencing problems. In fact, there have been many in the industry calling for the establishment of a gambling ombudsman for many years. For example, Tom Watson, during his time as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The Social Market Foundation’s (SMF) report on regulatory reform also proposed an ombudsman. The report suggested that the Gambling Commission be split into two bodies. There would be a Gambling Licensing Authority to oversee license suitability and compliance and a Gambling Ombudsman to handle customer protection and affordability.

The Gambling Act review has three main objectives; to see if changes to gambling regulations are needed, to find a balance between consumer freedoms and harm prevention, and to ensure that customers are properly protected. As such, there is a realistic chance that it will support the idea of an ombudsman.

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