The merger appears to be confirmed by a job posting on the Ellwood Atfield recruitment website, which states that the two organizations have formed “NEWCO”, which is described as “the working title for a new industry body representing the gambling sector, replacing the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB).”
The Guardian reports that a senior industry source acknowledged the merger and stated, “All of the issues on responsible gambling and tax cut across the industry, so it’s time to get lined up a bit better.”
There has been a constant assault against the gambling industry in the UK, with a barrage of new regulations and restrictions making it increasingly difficult for operators to conduct their businesses. The new lobby group is looking for a chairman and a CEO to help lead the organization, which will be “the largest and most prominent organisation representing the gambling industry.”
The ABB has been on the front lines of the fight that sought to restrict fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) in the UK. However, it lost the battle after government officials called the machines a “social blight” and ordered that the maximum bet be reduced from US$130 every 20 seconds to US$2.60.
According to Matt Zarb-Cousin, spokesperson for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and a FOBT opponent, NEWCO was born because the organizations realized that mistakes had been made. “This illustrates how discredited the ABB in particular are with policymakers and with government, given the way they handled the issue of FOBTs and their failure to acknowledge any kind of problem, which has led to resistance to any meaningful compromiso,” he explained.
Source: GMB / Calvin Ayre