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UK Gambling Industry’s Representative Bodies ABB and RGA to Merge and Create a New Trade Body

- February 25, 2019 By Oliver Young -

Amid increased online gambling restrictions in the UK, the industry’s largest representative bodies Association of British Bookmakers and Remote Gambling Association talk merger with the intention to create a whole new trade body.

The new trade body will be called NEWCO and will be the largest, most prominent gambling representative in the industry. ABB and RGA have selected the communications and recruitment agency Ellwood Atfield to run the advertisements for the employment of Chair and Chief Executive of the new trade body NEWCO. As detailed in the ad, the Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association will be entirely replaced by NEWCO.

ABB and RGA talk merger amid stricter remote gambling regulations announced by the authorities.

ABB and RGA talk merger amid stricter remote gambling regulations announced by the authorities.

Details on the Merger

There have been rumours on the merger between the Remote Gambling Association and the Association of British Bookmakers for quite some time now, but the rumours were dismissed by the former Chief Executive Officer at the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood.

From what we can see, ABB and RGA have reconsidered it. The merger will create a new trade body and act as a lobby group for the online gambling operators, amid a desperate time when the authorities consider stricter remote gambling regulations. A senior industry source, who confirmed the news for the media, said that the merger was imminent due to tax, media, and the identification verification and responsible gambling issues that surfaced recently. The source said that this was the time for the industry’s representatives to get organized a little bit better.

But with the employment ads posted by Ellwood Atfield, the news for the merger was officially confirmed. The agency posted two different job advertisements saying that they’re looking for Chief Executive and Chair for the new trade body NEWCO. Candidates, as the ads said, will need to provide proof of successfully taking care of political and lobbying processes in various European and national institutions such as Brussels, Westminster and Whitehall. But most importantly, they will need to provide a track record of an established network of international and national political and media relationships and show proof that they are experienced in dealing with social media in times of political and other sensitive topics.

Reasons for the Merger

The first rumours for the merger appeared when the authorities announced their decision on cutting the stakes on FOBTs. This is when the Association of British Bookmakers tried to fight the stakes cut. The only thing ABB got was a postponement of the implementation of the new rule for six months. Then, the UK’s (now former) Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned from her position to protest that decision, leaving the government no choice than to resume the plan for the stakes cut to take effect from April 2019.

But the people and the anti-gambling campaigners were not satisfied with that. They have now started attacking operators saying that they are failing to protect gamblers. Therefore, the regulators started announcing new, tougher regulations such as the ban on gambling ads, prohibiting gambling using credit cards and blocking access to gambling apps. The lawmakers, the people and the regulators all continue to keep an eye on the gambling industry and cannot wait for operators to make a wrong move in order to criticize it.

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