LONDON – New laws to regulate gambling in the UK are all set to make it easier for gamblers to indulge in thier favorite activity even as charities and consumers’ organizations are voicing concerns that the new laws will give rise to a generation of ‘problem’ gamblers.
The government appears to have taken this point into consideration since a new regulator called the Gambling Commission will oversee all gambling activity to make sure that it is fair, safe and above all socially responsible. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell assured consumers that the UK gambling industry will be heavily regulated and it would be near impossible to hoodwink people. The new commission will regulate online betting, a gray area in the UK scenario. It would also make sure that organized crime does not gain a backdoor entry into the society via gambling.
Meanwhile, a five-member Casino Advisory Panel is due to deliberate from Monday on the possible location of a Las Vegas style ‘super casino.’ The government had initially proposed to have 40 such casinos across the country, but under pressure from the Conservatives decided to scale down this number. Tessa Jowell will take advise from this panel to identify locations in England, Wales and Scotland for one “super casino” and 16 other smaller ones. Blackpool and Glasgow are being thought of as front-runners for the super casino, but nothing has been finalized yet.
However, concern has been running rife that the opening up of gambling in the country would not be a healthy sign, “Responsible providers of gambling want the cachet and the respectability that a license from the Gambling Commission will provide. And that will provide some assurance to those who go on those sites that the sites are properly run,” said Peter Dean, chairman of the Gambling Commission, defending the reforms.
Major Bill Cochrane, of the Salvation Army, said that the government should not hasten to introduce the super casinos all over the country, “The potential consequences do not offer an attractive proposition to any local community and that is why no more super casinos should even be considered until the impact of the first one has been measured,” he commented.