29 April 2008
The shadow Gambling Commission (‘the Commission’) has released the results of three public consultation papers. The consultations were sent to over 500 individuals and groups, including the Gambling Industry, representatives of faith groups, the Chamber of Commerce, States of Jersey Police, as well as those on the Public Consultation Register. The consultations addressed the themes of ‘Broadening the Industry’, ‘Regulatory Principles’ and ‘Harm Reduction’.
The Commission’s report is in two parts: part one gives a summary of responses; part two comprises the Commission’s comments, preliminary conclusions and recommendations for legislative reform. In forming these recommendations, the Commission has been guided not only by the public response, but by its core responsibilities to ensure that gambling remains free from crime, is socially responsible and is carried out in a way that protects the young and the vulnerable.
The Commission’s key recommendations are that:
- the number of Licensed Betting Offices should remain unchanged, but there should be greater flexibility to allow for occasional gaming at special events;
- Licensed Betting Offices should be allowed to open on Sunday;
- an increase is permitted in the number and type of gaming machines allowed in Licensed Betting Offices;
- increased regulatory controls be put in place;
- the Commission has access to player data generated by gambling machines through a centralised machine monitoring system;
- Licensed Betting Offices and or any other gambling company has money laundering controls and reporting guidelines in accordance with anti-money laundering best practice;
- gaming machines be permitted in private members clubs, but not pubs or other public places
the 18 and over age restriction on playing remains (adult environment only);
- commercial bingo be permitted;
- there is a risk-based approach to regulation in order to reduce “red-tape”;
- there is an increased probity and licensing regime for senior staff;
- there is light touch regulation for society and charitable gambling;
- fees be substantially increased and reviewed annually to reflect the true cost of regulation;
- a statutory social responsibility levy is introduced;
- the scale of fines and other sanctions be increased;
- local gambling advertising is permitted; and
- there is a social responsibility programme and staff are trained to identify individuals who may have a problem.
The Commission is acutely aware that it has taken longer than first anticipated to collate and assess all of the responses and to produce the consultation report. It is the first in-depth and dedicated ‘snapshot’ of gambling views in Jersey and covers an extremely wide set of parameters.
Gambling legislation, like other laws designed to prevent possible abuse, can only reflect public morality and standards at a particular point in time. One of the difficulties in producing a law fit for purpose is the degree to which it reflects people’s attitudes; this consultation has received calls for both liberalisation and, at the other end of the spectrum, prohibitive recommendations. The Commission believes part of its mandate is to take responsibility for ensuring that gambling legislation mirrors, as closely as possible, the broadest views acceptable to the public in Jersey, while also ensuring that it remains practical, relevant and useful.
Deputy Alan Maclean, Assistant Minister for Economic Development, said “This has been a far reaching and detailed review which both I and other States Members will be able to draw on when considering the necessary reforms of the gambling law”.
The Commission is now confident that it can advise the Minister on the most appropriate direction for Jersey to follow based not only on international good practice and its own experience, but the expressed desire of the Jersey public for managed and proportionate change.
A copy of the report will be available to download from the States of Jersey website at:
Gambling Public Consultation Results