RGC2010 Salvation Army

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					General: Shaw Clifton    Territorial Commander: Commissioner John Matear




Gambling Team
Sport and Leisure Directorate
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH
                                                                                    United Kingdom
                                                                                       Territory
                                                                                   with the Republic of
Dear Sir / Madam
                                                                                          Ireland
The Salvation Army’s response to DCMS consultation on proposed
changes to the regulation of Remote Gambling in Great Britain

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church working in 121
countries worldwide. As a registered charity, The Salvation Army
demonstrates its Christian principles through social action and is one of the
largest, most diverse providers of social welfare in the world.

The Salvation Army appreciates the invitation to respond to this consultation
process. We have worked closely on the issue of Gambling Policy with the
Department of Culture Media and Sport and subsequently with the Gambling
Commission over several years.

The Salvation Army is particularly concerned that the current trend towards
the societal normalisation of gambling could lead to an increase in the
number of people experiencing the highly damaging consequences of
problem or pathological gambling, either directly or indirectly.

The Salvation Army has a long history of working with those whose lives are
damaged by addictions, most notably to alcohol and drugs, and a number of
those with whom we work also cite gambling among their addictions.

Our detailed comments are provided below:

Question 1: Do you agree with the Government’s preferred option in relation
to EEA and Gibraltar licensed operators? If not, please set out clearly your
reasons and let us know if you consider any of the options, or any other
option not considered in this paper to be more appropriate.

Yes. Whilst The Salvation Army does not support the advertising of gambling
services, we do recognize that the current framework is not likely to change in
relation to the EEA and Gibraltar, especially if advertising for remote gambling
services is allowed for UK-based gambling service providers.

In our opinion, the preferred option presented for consultation meets the
criteria which frame the remit of the consultation, and also meets the licensing
objectives of the Act which The Salvation Army is most concerned about. This
is because it will increase the protection of children and the most vulnerable
in society by standardising protections afforded. This will be trust whether the
service provider is based in the EEA or the UK.




                                  Page 1 of 5
General: Shaw Clifton        Territorial Commander: Commissioner John Matear




Question 2: Do you agree with the Government’s preferred option b) above?

Yes. However, whilst we agree with the Government’s assessment of the
benefits of the white-list system as mentioned in para. 4.54, we suggest that
streamlining of entry, as is suggested in para. 4.45, must not mean a loss of
quality in the assessment of the suitability of the jurisdiction to gain white-list
status.

Question 3: Do you agree with the Government’s preferred overall option in
relation to EEA, Gibraltar and white listed operators? If not, please set out
clearly your reasons and let us know if you consider any of the options, any
other combination of the options, or any other options not considered in this
paper, to be more appropriate.

Yes. We welcome these proposals and trust they will be implemented as
soon as possible.

Question 4: Do you agree with the twin triggers for requiring a licence?

Yes.

Question 5: Do you agree with the definition of ‘transacting with British
consumers’?

Yes

Question 6: Do you agree that the above definitions of advertising are
appropriate?

Yes but with some caveats. Although we agree with para 5.8, it is unclear
what the criteria would be to asses whether something is “intended” to inform
about gambling services. It is notoriously difficult to prove intention and so we
recommend that the threshold should be set lower, particularly if the law will
not require extradition as per para. 5.35.

Furthermore, while we recognize the points made in para 5.9 with regards to
the problem of taking action against unscrupulous overseas operators we
disagree with the assessment that “these types of activities are generally
considered a lower impact and less successful form of acquisition marketing”,
particularly with relation to social networking websites.

Finally, we consider it likely that internet based advertising will grow.
According to research conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau and
PricewaterhouseCoopers it has already surpassed TV advertising in terms of
money spent on buying advertising in the UK.1

Because of these concerns, we request an independent review of options for
a review of online advertising and effectiveness.




1
  http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/sep/30/internet-biggest-uk-advertising-sector
(accessed 25 May, 2010)
                                       Page 2 of 5
General: Shaw Clifton    Territorial Commander: Commissioner John Matear


Question 7: Do you agree that direct mail and spam etc are a low impact and
less successful form of advertising?

We have no evidence to support the proposition that direct mail and spam are
unsuccessful forms of advertising. If so, why do they persist to prominently?
People who might have a propensity to gambling addiction could be
disproportionately affected by direct mailing and to some extent spam,
particularly if ‘bonus’ money would be made available.

Para. 5.10 states that the Gambling Commission has the powers to pursue
“British-based companies involved in advertising foreign gambling.” We
assume that this does not include internet service providers. We suggest it
would be appropriate to consider whether there is in fact some measure of
responsibility on the Gambling Commission with regards to advertising
gambling, particularly in how they negotiate bandwidth provision to data-
transfer heavy sites such as video streaming or gaming website and
massively multiplayer online game sites, such as Second Life, which might
also provide a platform for advertising gambling.

We suggest social media provides a new platform for advertising (defined as
informing), which does not necessarily fall into the categories mentioned in
the consultation document.

We recommend that the Government reconsider its evaluation of the danger
of such advertising mechanisms.

Question 8: Do you think we should permit the advertising of non-remote
foreign gambling without the requirement for the operator to be located in a
white-listed jurisdiction or to hold a Commission licence?

No. We disagree with the main mitigation of the anticipated concerns found in
para 5.13. For the sake of consistency in relation to the message the
Government is sending with regards to advertising, consumers may assume
that because a casino is allowed to advertise in the UK, it must be based in a
white-list jurisdiction or it is licensed by the Commission. Given that the
Government is committed to making application for white listing status easier,
we do not see the need for this liberalising mechanism.

Furthermore, we would have hoped that whether or not a consumer expects
to be protected by British Law, Government commitment to the Act’s objective
of protecting the vulnerable could be solidified by affording such protection to
citizens.

In the event that the Government does decide non-remote foreign gambling
advertising should be permitted in the UK, we request that the option for
secondary legislation would be kept open by allowing the “Secretary of State
to reinstate the prohibition.”

Question 9: Do you agree with our initial assessment regarding approaches
towards compliance of remote gambling operators that may be based wholly
or partly overseas? In particular in relation to:

a. additional fees
b. MOUs or other agreements between regulators.
c. Requiring some presence in Britain.



                                  Page 3 of 5
General: Shaw Clifton      Territorial Commander: Commissioner John Matear


Yes. We would particularly welcome MOUs made public. We also welcome
further consultation on the detailed proposals and would like to participate in
that process.

Question 10: Do you agree with the Government’s proposals relating to
offences as set out above? If not please clearly state your reasons why as
well as your views on the approach you consider the Government should
take.

Yes with caveats. We welcome the provision of a new offence described in
para 5.35. We also agree that extradition would be disproportionate. However
if such an individual is found to be travelling through the EU or UK, we would
expect them to be held and charged. Provisions should be put in place to
make that possible.

We agree that it would not be in the public interest to make it an offence for
somebody to gamble on an unlicensed website.

Question 11: Do you think we have considered the above two restriction
measures adequately? If not, please set out clearly your reasons and your
views on the approach you consider the Government should take.

Yes and No. Yes, we agree with the new offences, agree that extradition
should not be used and that criminalising individuals would be too heavy
handed and hard to police. However, we believe that provisions for both ISP
blocking and Financial Transaction Blocking should be a part of any change
in legislation.

We are confused about why the USA and major EU states have considered
or are considering such mechanisms if they are ineffective? Australia has
implemented such mechanisms.

We recognize that there are some problems in relation to “net neutrality,”
however given that the blocks would be made on a relatively small amount of
websites, we do not see how it could effect net neutrality, particularly if a
company is open to sell their wares to UK citizens under the appropriate
licensing conditions and in a transparent way.

If it is true that relatively few gambling firms will remain outside the licensing
framework, then it must also be true that blocking such sites or financial
transactions with such sites will not be as expensive as it might be for
countries such as Norway which have to block financial transactions from
many more websites than the UK would.

Finally we note that ISP blocking is not the same as Financial Transaction
blocking. It seems these options have been conflated in the consultation
document.

Our preferred mechanism is Financial Transaction blocking, as it does not
create an environment under which the questions of net neutrality are raised.
Given that all gambling, unlike other controversial websites, requires some
form of financial transaction, and because the US and Norway have already
implemented such measures, we believe it would be the most effective
mechanism to inhibit unlicensed gambling in the UK.




                                    Page 4 of 5
General: Shaw Clifton    Territorial Commander: Commissioner John Matear


Question 12: Do you agree that the Government should consider taking
powers in legislation to implement technological enforcement measures in the
future in the event it became necessary and appropriate to do so? If not,
please set out clearly your reasons and your views on the approach you
consider the Government should take.

Yes. Provisions for both ISP blocking and Financial blocking should be kept
open. This is a key element in strengthening and future-proofing legislation.
Such mechanisms should be used to hamper such websites that do not,
under this proposed framework, possess a license.

Question 13: Do you agree with the proposed consumer awareness raising
measures that we have proposed? If not, please clearly state why as well as
the approach you consider should be taken.

Yes. We particularly agree and like the idea that individual licences can be
viewed by the Commission website via a link from the licensees’ website.

Question 14: Do you agree with the Government’s overall approach to
enforcement as set out above? If not, please clearly set out the reasons why
as well as your views regarding the approach you consider the Government
should take.

Yes.



Thank you for taking our response into account. Please do not hesitate to
contact me should you have any comment or queries, or if you require any
further input from The Salvation Army.

Yours sincerely




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