The Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group wants to hear from any operators or their advisers who believe that the Gambling Commission has acted Ultra Vires or beyond the powers expected of a regulator.
An example of this provided to us by one industry adviser is the concept of Affordability. Their argument is as follows:
Affordability effectively limits the amount a person can gamble.
Such a limitation of personal freedom has not been seen since the Gaming Act 1710 banned gambling debts of more than £10
Affordability is not targeted at preventing problem gambling and merely serves to reduce the amount of gambling
Affordability is such an enormous change in the way gambling is regulated that it is not the place of an unelected regulator to impose it but that it should be a question for Parliament
Another example provided to the Group was about the Gambling Commission's alleged strategy of circumventing the legal requirements of imposing regulations, s.24(10) Gambling Act 2005, that involve seeking industry consultation first. This is supposedly being done by the increasing use of regulations that simply refer licensees to Guidance. While this is understandable in cases that involve complex regulations from other legislation, such as with AML, the adviser argued that it was being increasingly used to impose excessive and at times undefined regulations without the need for industry consultation. The examples given were:
Social responsibility code provision 22.214.171.124 Guidance on Customer Interaction
Social responsibility code provision 126.96.36.199 Guidance on high value customer incentives
One law firm had commented that the imposition of the new Covid-19 restrictions in May 2019 was done so in clear breach of s.24(10) Gambling Act 2005. There are also questions to be asked that given the removal of Covid-19 restrictions by the government, on what basis can the Gambling Commission keep these restrictions in place.
Another operator has questioned the legal basis for the Gambling Commission's approach that all their publications, statements and speeches have potential regulatory importance.
These examples hopefully provide some idea of what is meant by Ultra Vires - where the Commission has acted in ways beyond what is normally acceptable for a regulator. The Group will consider all submissions for this category and confer with the submitter if we feel their example may be better placed in another category. You may submit examples that are similar to the ones detailed above.
We stress that we will publish all examples anonymously but we need you to provide your details so we can confirm you are a genuine member of the industry or its advisers.
The deadline for submissions is October 31st 2021
Please use the form below to submit your examples of where you believe the Gambling Commission has acted Ultra Vires: