Flutter Boss Says UK Gambling Review Is “Badly Needed”

Flutter Entertainment’s boss, Peter Jackson, believes a UK gambling industry review is “badly needed” but warned that MPs should avoid “cosmetic gestures” and introduce reforms that will deliver a meaningful impact.

Writing in the Racing Post, Mr. Jackson said that they all, industry, Government, and other stakeholders, should “get the balance right” so they can build a “much better industry which commands the support of its customers – and also wider society too.”

Flutter is one of the industry’s largest gambling operators with a portfolio of brands that includes the likes of Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Betting & Gaming, and PokerStars, among others.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election manifesto last year promised a review of the UK Gambling Act 2005 to reshape the nation’s gambling rules and regulations in line with how technology evolves. The review is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Mr. Jackson called for a range of reforms and protections aimed at young adults and other vulnerable people and urged the Government to recognize the “special relationship” between the betting and racing industry, noting that the latter is a key stakeholder in the reorganization process.

Stake Limits and Other Proposed Measures

Flutter’s boss, who stepped into the role in early 2018 and navigated the company through its mega-merger with The Stars Group earlier this year, said in the Racing Post that the Government should probably consider the introduction of a maximum length of time that a gambling customer should spend gambling.

He also noted that questions should be asked and discussions should be started about online spend and online stake limits. Germany, which is in the middle of reorganizing its online gambling industry, has introduced such measures.

Mr. Jackson said that while it may be a bit of a surprise that a CEO of a leading gaming and betting company calls for new, tougher, measures, he believes the review is “badly needed” and that the UK’s current regulatory framework has failed to keep pace with “how society has been changed by technology.”

According to Flutter’s CEO, regulation has progressed in certain areas, but in others operators have introduced their own measures. Mr. Jackson noted that there is one big downside to “this organic piecemeal approach” as it can lead to inconsistencies and gaps that the “less scrupulous” operators can exploit “with less regard for customer welfare.”

Government Should Acknowledge the Racing Industry

According to Flutter’s boss, MPs should recognize the importance of the racing industry and acknowledge the impact of the new gambling policy on “the wider ecosystem” that also includes that industry.

He also urged the betting and racing sectors to support each other as two key stakeholders in the looming review.

The Government has been facing mounting pressure to launch its review and campaigners for gambling reform have come forward from across the political spectrum. Some of the measures they are calling for include stake limits and restrictions on the speed at which casino games can be played online.

The review could also include new curbs on gambling advertising and sports sponsorship by betting brands.

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