It is not just gambling regulators that are at fault for the repeated failures of the Australian gaming industry. Politicians also seem to have little interest in harm prevention and innovation in responsible gambling. There is a lack of regulatory scrutiny as evidenced by the recent headline stories about suspected criminal involvement in casino operations. More concerning from a public health perspective are breaches of “responsible gambling” principles. This was the case at ALH Pty Ltd, a Woolworths subsidiary, which was caught plying free drinks to patrons and collecting information on patrons.
This is a problem across the entire gambling industry. It is known that gambling addiction is a serious problem and should not be encouraged, but the industry also has a duty to protect vulnerable groups and protect vulnerable people. Regulators need to make sure that gambling businesses are safe and fair to consumers. The government should enforce strict gambling regulations for all industries. Despite the recent failures, the industry will still struggle with the issue of gambling addiction.
While these regulations may be beneficial in theory, in practice they are often confusing, and often result in license revocation or penalties. In the UK, the Gambling Commission has threatened to revoke the licenses of five online gambling operators for numerous reasons, including failures in consumer protection and interaction. As a result, the gambling industry must get its act together to keep consumers safe. The regulators should work to eliminate the problem before it reaches a critical point.
Research into the relationship between political donations and gambling policy is crucial to developing effective gambling regulation. Regulators should consider whether industry donations to political campaigns are connected to gambling policy or not. This information may also help the gambling industry to avoid making blatant political contributions. The findings from this study suggest that the gambling industry is an active player in politics and is actively seeking political engagement. It should not surprise us that the industry is active in politics.
Another recent example of a gambling regulator failing to protect ordinary gamblers is Illawarra Steelers club, which advanced large amounts of cash to punters through the casino and concealed it as large liquor sales. Meanwhile, Crown casino was fined $300 000 by the VCGLR after supplying plastic picks for jamming pokie buttons. These examples show that regulators aren’t very good at their job. The Victorian Gambling Regulator has failed to achieve its objectives in preventing such harms.