Labour Deputy Leader to Appoint a New Ombudsman to Assist the UKGC and the NHS
Tom Watson, the Labour Deputy Leader, has proposed the appointment of a new ombudsman that would assist the UK gambling regulator and the health stakeholders with the aim to better protect consumers and the UK citizens overall. The Deputy Leader has even proposed a new Gambling Act last September, saying that the current framework was failing to protect consumers. On that note, the new ombudsman would be responsible for handling consumer disputes and penalizing operators who fail to prevent problem gambling.
The Proposal for a New Ombudsman
Tom Watson, who is the Labour Deputy Leader but also the leading anti-gambling campaigner, has been proposing several updates and changes to regulation over the past few years. Recently, he asked the UK Gambling Commission to thoroughly review the licenses of those bookmakers who were licensed after 2014. Then, he banned sports betting sponsorship deals between bookmakers and football clubs and suggested a credit card betting ban. Following his tough gambling narrative, Watson reported that he couldn’t think of any other type of transactions for goods or services that allowed for a lack of transparency, unclear Terms and Conditions and lack of framework, in addition to predatory bonus offers. The most recent news is that Watson has proposed a new ombudsman. The ombudsman’s job will be assisting the health stakeholders in the UK and supporting the UK Gambling Commission as UK’s gambling regulator, by actively participating in research and treatment of those bettors who have gambling problems. Watson suggested all of this with the aim to protect consumers, as he considers that the current framework fails to prevent harms. In fact, he is expected to propose further consumer reforms. Since currently licensed bookmakers are only being penalized but consumers not compensated. Therefore, the ombudsman will be settling consumer disputes.
The UKGC Agrees with Watson
Even though the UK Gambling Commission’s statutory role is to provide advice and guidance to government of gambling, and expects operators to treat consumers justly, fairly, it agrees with Watson on the ombudsman proposal. True, the regulator puts bookmakers right whenever they do wrong, and consumers have the right to refer disputes to a nation-approved ADR provider, and true, the UKGC has updated the standards on ADR providers and bookmaker operations in order to improve the way they solve consumer complaints, still, the regulator will consider the Labour Deputy Leader’s proposal for a new gambling ombudsman. On that note, the UK Gambling Commission posted on its official website that they were openly inviting everyone interested to comment on the new additional ADR provider standards.