The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) is now merging with the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) to create a new lobbying supergroup called NEWCO. The merger is expected to be confirmed by the end of February to help the industry respond better to tighter regulations.
According to a Guardian report, the RGA and ABB could provide a formal confirmation about their merger on March 1. The rumors about the merger have been circulating in the industry for some time, and NEWCO will be used as the working title for the new entity.
The executive job search agency Ellwood Atfield is also advertising a new job post for the chairperson of NEWCO. The ad states that the chairperson will “lead what will be the largest and most prominent organization representing the gambling industry. The chair will build and maintain trust in the gambling industry, both within the industry itself and with external stakeholders.”
The British gambling sector faced several problems in 2018. The industry welcomed the government’s decision to limit the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from 100 pounds to 2 pounds. However, later there was a controversy related to the timing when the ban will be implemented since the activity will cause a major loss of revenue for the government. The gambling operators said that they would close about one-third of betting shops which send most of their FOBT income. This will result in the loss of 5,000 jobs.
Betting companies also agreed to a whistle-to-whistle ban on TV advertising during live sporting events voluntarily. Now campaigners want a total ban on betting advertisements. The UK Gambling Commission fined 28 million pounds for regulatory breaches last year, including fines for ethically dubious practices, the rise in gambling addiction and higher exposure to kids.
The regulator is now looking forward to together regulatory regime which could also target the growth of smartphone gambling apps. NEWCO will help the industry lobby against these severe regulations. The job for the chairperson of NEWCO further states that the chairperson will need to work as the voice of the industry on all important issues from regulation to legislation, media and key-decision making. The entity is looking for someone with extensive experience in handling highly regulated industries to make sure they are well equipped.
In its lobbying role, the entity will work to establish a network within the national and international politic and media, maintaining relationships with key decision makers in the media, government and the industry. NEWCO is also looking for a CEO who will work on its external communications strategy while leading and managing advocacy positions.