Lottery regulator is useless, say MPs

The National Lottery Commission (NLC) has been slammed by a cross-party committee of MPs and peers as a waste of public money.

The report from the scrutiny committee on the Government’s proposed Gambling Bill points to the “apparent deficiencies” of the NLC and recommends the Department of Culture, Media and Sport reconsider the regulatory system for the National Lottery.

One senior Whitehall source says the only reason why the report falls short of demanding the immediate abolition of the NLC is because there is insufficient time to establish a replacement. “We are saying the body is a complete waste of money,” the source says. “The system does not work and needs to be changed.”

The report also rejects government plans to split the National Lottery between multiple operators, although the Whitehall source says the committee considers Camelot too protected at the moment.

The report also calls on the proposed gaming board, the Gambling Commission, to become the regulator for advertising in the gambling industry, rather than the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The report also recommends that gambling ads contain information about where help can be found for problem gambling.

Casino loyalty cards receive support in the report, with the risks of encouraging problem gambling thought to be outweighed by uses in tracking gambling habits. However, there is less promising news for larger casinos: the report recommends restrictions on the number of slot machines, which could limit the growth of “resort”-style casinos.

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