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...

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
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

Gambling industry fails to answer calls for controls during the virus crisis

14 Apr 2020

I was one of 12 academics and doctors who sent a letter to the Times last week calling for a suspension of gambling advertising during the crisis. Twenty...

Are betting companies taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis?

28 Mar 2020

Betting companies, like so many others, are facing uncertainty created by the coronavirus crisis. Will their profits decrease or, because people are confined...

New book on gambling is a must-read

24 Mar 2020

Rebecca Cassidy 2020 Vicious Games: Capitalism and Gambling. London: Pluto Press. No one knows better than Rebecca Cassidy the way in which betting has...

Gambling company sponsorship of football – What should be done?

09 Mar 2020

Following the announcement of a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling in the UK from April, the spotlight is now on the Government to see how quickly it...

Gambling Commission’s industry groups on safer gambling: a conflict of interests

07 Feb 2020

The Gambling Commission is setting up three industry-led working groups to help take forward its ‘drive to make gambling safer’ (see GC newsletter 27 January...

Betting companies admit that a huge percentage of ‘deposits’ come from a few customers

07 Feb 2020

The five big betting companies have admitted, for the first time, under questioning from members of the House of Lords Select Committee on gambling harm, that...

Gambling with credit cards banned from April

22 Jan 2020

After holding a consultation, the Gambling Commission has decided to ban gambling operators accepting payment with credit cards, starting on April 14th. At...

NHS England blames the gambling industry for gambling addiction and plans new gambling clinics

08 Jan 2020

‘The NHS is facing a rising tide of gambling related ill health’, says NHS England. Their data show the number of gambling related hospital admissions has...

Pub allows under 18s to use gambling machines and loses its permit

19 Dec 2019

For the first time a British pub has been stripped of its permit to have gambling machines on its premises (Gambling Commission 16 December 2019). Redbridge...

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 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...

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...

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...

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