Gambling Watch UK has been critical of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) since its launch in April 2012. For a start we think that this way of deciding how gambling research, treatment and prevention should be funded is quite wrong: not only are the funds raised from the gambling industry through a pitifully inadequate voluntary levy, but they are now dispersed by an industry-led body, the RGT, rather than completely independently of the industry as should be the case. This, we felt, was bound to result in bias. This expectation was reinforced when RGT announced that it would be funding a programme of research about gambling machine playing: the way in which the announcement was phrased made it appear that this would mainly focus on irresponsible players rather than on dangerous gambling products themselves (see Gambling Watch UK/UK news/new gambling research...).

A recent statement made by Neil Goulden, Chairman of RGT, has now made the bias inherent in the way RGT is constituted clear beyond all reasonable doubt. Writing on the PoliticsHome website (8th February 2013) in his other capacity as Chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), with no mention of his important public service role as Chair of RGT, he has produced an emotionally worded and biased piece on gambling machines. He writes, 'Apparently you cannot walk down a high street in the UK without being dragged into a bookmaker and forced to put all your money into an electronic gaming machine... At least that is one of the various myths some anti-betting campaigners put around, and appear to be doing so again by re-launching a campaign in the next week or so... the idea that eight million people should have their enjoyment taken away from them just because a couple of professional anti-betting campaigners disapprove of betting is obviously absurd'. This kind of one-sided emotive language is totally inappropriate coming from someone holding such an important office as Chair of RGT. In his capacity as chair of ABB we would expect him to defend the interests of betting companies (the RGT website describes him as Emeritus Chair of Gala Coral) although even then we might hope for more measured language. But this is the person who chairs the body that is responsible for making decisions about the funding of gambling treatment and research in Britain and, most particularly, will be responsible for a programme of research into gambling machines.

His recent statement goes on to make a number of points about the findings of the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey which shows how easily evidence can be distorted to make a point. For example, he draws incorrect or misleading conclusions from the statistics to suggest that there has been a reduction in the number of problem gamblers using machines (incorrect) and that the majority of people who play machines are in work (misleading). Nowhere does he refer specifically to the high-stake Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) which are the kinds of machines which have been causing so much concern and which are the focus of campaigns by the Fairer Gambling Campaign, GRASP, High Streets First and Gambling Watch UK. Instead, he refers generally to 'electronic gaming machines' having been in betting shops for a long time and having proved to be very popular. This looks like a deliberate attempt to confuse the issue.

Gambling Watch UK believes it is wholly inappropriate for the Chair of RGT to have come out and made such a statement which so clearly shows that he stands on one side of the current controversy about the future of high-stakes gambling machines in accessible locations on the high street. Not only does it call into question the objectivity of RGT as a body, but it undermines the credibility of their programme of research into gambling machines. Of course it is not surprising that this has happened. RGT is admittedly an 'industry-led' organisation and the appointment of a very prominent gambling industry spokesman as its Chair is consistent with that. The conflict of interests involved is plain and clear for all to see. It might be expected that the RGT Chair would be very conscious of his delicate position and would bend over backwards to be seen as neutral. But the current Chairman seems to believe that his appointment is no barrier to him continuing to campaign for the interests of the industry he continues to represent.

Gambling Watch UK therefore has no hesitation in calling for him to step down from his position as Chair of the Responsible Gambling Trust in the interests of restoring some credibility to the current British system for funding gambling research, treatment and prevention.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very disappointing comments by RGT Chair and a clear demonstration of 'conflict of interest' with regard to advancing a commercial agenda over a clear and apparent public health issue.

Shannon Hanrahan
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I would also like to draw readers' attention to this particular piece of purile PR spin initiated by the ABB, presumably with Mr G's knowledge and approval?

Your text to link...

UK-21
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree - a quite absurd conflict of interests. If Mr G is ever required to present himself to a House of Commons Select Committee to give evidence as to what is being done in the UK to promote "responsible gambling", and the activities of the...

I agree - a quite absurd conflict of interests. If Mr G is ever required to present himself to a House of Commons Select Committee to give evidence as to what is being done in the UK to promote "responsible gambling", and the activities of the RGT in particular, he will of course leave himself looking a total plum.

Read More
UK-21
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Latest UK News

Parliamentary group lambasts online gambling

05 Dec 2019

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm (APPG-GRH) has produced an Interim Report into the Online Gambling Sector which does not mince...

Political parties pledge gambling reform

05 Dec 2019

All four main political parties going into the December 12th general election make specific mention of gambling in their manifestos. Congratulations to...

'The Gambling Establishment' is published - a must read

18 Sep 2019

An important new book will be out in a few days time: The Gambling Establishment: Challenging the Power of the Modern Gambling Industry and Its Allies, by Jim...

The tide is turning against the gambling industry

09 Aug 2019

Great BBC TV programme available online at bbc.co.uk/bbcthree from 4 July 2019. Comedian Lloyd Griffith fails to double his money during a week of gambling,...

Gambling with Lives launch shows the tide is turning

17 Nov 2018

Tuesday this week, 13th November 2018, was the launch of Gambling with Lives (GwL) at the Houses of Parliament. The event was extremely well attended by...

Gambling with Lives

16 Aug 2018

Gambling with Lives (GwL) is a new group started by the parents of a young man with a gambling addiction who committed suicide. They are naturally grief...

FOBT Stake Cut to £2 Maximum

17 May 2018

The Government has at last seen sense and done what we and so many others have been asking for. Today it has announced it is bringing the maximum stake per...

What do you think about online gambling marketing: Gambling Commission wants to know

13 Feb 2018

The Gambling Commission (GC) has announced that it is working with the Competition and Markets Authority to make sure that online gambling companies bring...

Government's disappointing consultation document regarding FOBTs

01 Dec 2017

Several months later than originally expected, DCMS – which meanwhile has become DDCMS, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – has produced, not...

Gambling: a big public health problem neglected

15 Sep 2017

The Gambling Commission has just published a summary of British survey findings for 2015. The results are not new but this is the first time they have put...

TV drama shows gambling machine addiction

01 Jul 2017

The problems associated with the kinds of gambling machines now to be found in betting shops throughout Britain’s towns and cities, tending to be concentrated...

Are we seeing a backlash against liberalised commercial gambling?

05 Jun 2017

I have seen a couple of signs just recently that the tide might be turning against the establishment assumption that a strong, innovating and widely...

Gambling problems are costing Government hundreds of millions

13 Jan 2017

An important report came out at the end of 2016. This was from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), an influential and progressive British...

What shall we say to the Government enquiry on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals?

07 Nov 2016

Good news! Well maybe, let’s wait and see what the actual outcome is. But we do welcome the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) putting out a...

Honest admissions by prominent gambling establishment figure

11 Aug 2016

Gambling Commission’s former Chair talks at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)   Following his five years as Chair of the Gambling Commission, Philip Graf was...

The Times highlights gambling problems

23 Mar 2016

Did you see the Times of 17th February which devoted part of its front page, a whole double-page spread and an editorial to gambling and specifically the FOBT...

British gambling policy: Business As Usual for 2016

18 Jan 2016

Are there any signs that British gambling policy is changing for the better? Two recent public meetings might suggest some cautious optimism. One was a...

Jim Orford from Gambling Watch UK talks to George Galloway

16 Feb 2015

George Galloway and his wife Gayatri wanted to know how gambling has been allowed to get so out of hand. In this interview Jim gives them an overview of how...

Labour Party's sports betting levy idea criticised

18 Aug 2014

The idea behind the Labour Party’s consultation document ‘More Sport for All’, recently announced by Harriet Harman, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, is...

World Cup betting: Should we be concerned?

13 Jun 2014

The World Cup from Brazil is on and like many others I shall be keeping an eye on the television to follow the progress of England and others. When I do I...

Betknowmore UK - a new social enterprise

25 Mar 2014

Betknowmore UK is a new non-profit, social enterprise. Our mission to to develop and deliver new, innovative, support services, to tackle issues around...

Children and young people: government and industry failing to protect

16 Oct 2013

One of the better established facts, based on research carried out in several countries, is that young people are especially vulnerable to problem gambling....

Local authorities helped to control betting shops

19 Sep 2013

The main railway station in Birmingham, where I live and work, is undergoing major renovation. Its new main entrance was opened earlier this year. Directly...

The Gambling Commission fails to apply its own precautionary principle in its advice about FOBT stakes and prizes

19 Jul 2013

The Gambling Commission has written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport giving its advice on what should be done about maximum stakes and...

Irresponsible statement by Chair of Responsible Gambling Trust

21 Mar 2013

Gambling Watch UK has been critical of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) since its launch in April 2012. For a start we think that this way of deciding how...

Gambling and Alcohol, Parallels and Shared Solutions: a New Report

21 Feb 2013

A Losing Bet? Alcohol and Gambling: Investigating Parallels and Shared Solutions, a report by Alcohol Concern and the Royal College of Psychiatrists There is...

Government fails to deal with Fixed Odds Betting Terminals on the high street but resists the Select Committee’s call to make them even more available

21 Jan 2013

On January 15th, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published the Government’s response to the July 2012 CMS Select Committee’s report into...

New Gambling Research focuses on Irresponsible Players rather than Dangerous Gambling Products

05 Dec 2012

Gambling Watch UK has already been critical of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) as a gambling industry-led body which disburses funds for gambling...

The gambling industry levy: £25 million would be a more appropriate target

31 Oct 2012

The industry levy: £25 million would be a more appropriate target for the annual contribution of the British gambling industry to research and treatment. The...

Social Work is Neglecting Problem Gambling

26 Oct 2012

Social Work is Neglecting Problem Gambling  It is now well established that problem gambling is linked to many individual and social problems including;...

'Hard' FOBT gambling: alarming and illogical recommendations from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee

12 Sep 2012

Gambling Watch UK, like others, was waiting with interest to see what this report on the workings of the 2005 Gambling Act had to say about Fixed Odds Betting...

Channel 4 Dispatches puts the spotlight on FOBT machines and betting shops

07 Aug 2012

The harm being done by the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and the clustering of betting shops in poorer areas came across clearly in last night’s Channel 4...

FOBT Machine Gambling Starts to get the Publicity it Deserves

29 Jul 2012

SCHOOL kids as young as 16 are gambling illegally in high street bookies, a Sun investigation has revealed. We sent a team of 16 and 17-year-olds to a dozen...

The Expansionist Aspirations of the UK Online Gambling Industry

25 Jun 2012

I recently attended a half day seminar on The UK Online Gambling Industry. The seminar was organised by the Westminster eForum which 'aims to provide [an]...

Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs Welcomes Gambling Watch UK

31 May 2012

Gambling Watch is a welcome addition to the gambling landscape. The last few years have seen many changes as regards gambling: it is now widely advertised on...

Launch of the Responsible Gambling Trust

25 May 2012

April 2012 saw the launch of the new body – the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT), which replaces the old Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF).  The RGT takes over...

The Saturday Guardian Money Section talks to leading experts

02 May 2012

Two-thirds of patients treated at the UK's first specialist problem gambling clinic have indicated that controversial fixed odds betting terminals encouraged...

High Streets First - putting the high street before betting shops

12 Apr 2012

High Streets First is campaigning for a change in the law to give local communities a say over the number of betting shops in their area. At the moment...

Support Gambling Watch UK

Together we can make a difference

We believe there is overwhelming support for the view that there are already too many opportunities for gambling and that this is bad for individual, family and community health, but our voices need to be heard if we are to influence public policy..

Click here to register your support