|A pre-legislative committee made up of MPs and industry leaders was told this week that the government must exercise caution in it’s proposed change to British gambling laws, which, if handled correctly could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. However, one industry leader warned that 'costly and onerous' regulation could damage the industry and cost jobs, driving online businesses offshore.|
Bill Haygarth, of the Association of British Bookmakers, said: 'There's nothing in the bill for the betting industry, apart from increased regulation and costs. Licenses would be needed for everything from large-scale operators to backroom telephone betting businesses. That could lead to betting companies moving off-shore ... but if the government gets it right it could mean 3,000-plus jobs.'
Andrew Tottenham, chair of the Interactive Gambling, Gaming and Betting Association was slightly more optimistic, stating that, “that companies will come to the UK, but ... jobs that would be brought here would be high-tech, high-skilled jobs,' adding that call centre and less skilled jobs may remain oversees.
Operators fear that, with the introduction of a single regulatory body for the whole industry, rules that are clearly beneficial to land-based casinos may not work for their online counterparts. Conservative MP John Greenway, committee chairman, told the BBC the issues were 'unusually complex' and that, 'It would be hugely beneficial to have a single regulator, but that single regulator needs to be able to apply a suitable regulatory bite'