After a decision was taken to limit the group’s operations, the All-Party Betting & Gaming Group will no longer hold independent seminars discussing and reviewing UK gambling industry policies.
After the election of Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, as the group’s new Chair, Steve Donoughue, Group Secretariat, sent an email to members announcing the closing of the APPG.
Restriction of activities
The email confirmed that Robertson had decided to restrict the activities of the organisation and end its seminars. As a result, Donoughue announced that he had ended his 15-year career and that the website of the company would be shut down.
The email read: “As I work, voluntarily, at the behest of the Chair, there is nothing I can do about it and so my 15 years in the role must come to an end. During this time I have enjoyed myself thoroughly under the expert joint Chairmanships of Baroness Golding and Lord Lipsey followed by an enormously fun decade under Philip Davies MP.”
Hugely influential impact on gambling policy
Donoughue acknowledged that the community had a ‘hugely influential impact on gambling policy’ and that participating participants should be proud of their open gambling discussions.
Donoughue, as a policy advisor, noted that it was ‘crying shame that the group was ending at a time when its expertise was needed the most’.
He said: “The forces of prohibition and populism have never been stronger in their emotive and evidence-light attacks on a great industry and the potential of a massive black-market explosion due to over-regulation, especially the fatally flawed concept of affordability.”
With the sector at a crucial juncture, Donoughue cautioned that without an impartial advisory to discuss the complexities in parliament, the sector would suffer.
Forum to discuss gambling policies.
Donoughue believed that Robertson’s hiring, who is a paid advisor to the Betting and Gaming Council of the industry, went against the ‘very nature of the group’ that was formed as an open forum to discuss gambling policies.
“This includes the good and the bad, the libertarians and the nanny staters. I like to think that during my time we supported the industry when it needed it and we criticised it when it was due,” he added.
Bidding farewell, Donoughue said he would write a PhD on the Gambling Act of 2005, evaluating its application and consequences.