Gambling Legislation

Questions arise over lobby group challenging UK’s gaming reforms

The UK’s gaming industry is undergoing a major shift, and a group opposing it is catching flack

The Gambler’s Consumer Forum (GCF), a lobby group hoping to derail the scheduled overhaul of UK gambling laws and claiming to be acting on behalf of ordinary gamblers, may not be so neutral. It was discovered to be owned by a consultant for the gambling industry.

British lawmakers proposed a series of changes in April 2023, imposing more strict regulations on gaming licensees to make the UK gambling sector more fair, safe, and transparent, especially in the online gambling industry. However, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has stated that further talks on the proposals are necessary before a bill can be put before Parliament for a vote.

GCF has criticized the proposed changes and claims to represent regular British gamblers. It specifically looks to change the stricter affordability checks drafted into the Government’s White Paper on gambling. GCF also denounced the “misinformation” in the conversation regarding gambling-related harm and addiction, claiming it’s been a heavily politicized debate.

Recent reports by The Guardian discovered that GCF has political links and ties to a veteran gambling industry consultant. Media experts and analysts also described the materials as “misleading” on the group’s website.

The GCF website claimed two people operated it at the time of writing: Andrew Woodman, currently the parliamentary assistant to Andrew Bridgen, and Abbie MacGregor, a former candidate for the Conservative council and a Ph.D. student in neuroscience.

But based on Companies House records, Woodman and MacGregor are co-owners of the company behind GCF along with veteran gambling industry consultant Stephen Donoughue, who offers guidance to firms seeking to be granted gambling licenses.

Donoghue’s involvement with the group hasn’t yet been disclosed anywhere on the GCF website or when the group requests public donations. He has so far refused to comment on the matter.

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