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12/07/2001 No.8
he Good Gambler
The Editor or one of our professional correspondants make regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
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The End Of The Gaming Board?

The Gambling Review Body has completed its work. Responsibility for gambling has now passed from the Home Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Gambling Review Body has submitted its report to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Will this be the end of a quango, or will it survive? The gambling lobby in the British parliament has serious money behind it and they have a lot to protect. So far in its history the Gaming Board have done nothing to protect customers, infact much of it was ensuring the risk free status of a casino.

However, the long-awaited review of Britain's complex and often archaic gaming rules, to be published next month, will recommend giving stronger powers to consumers. At the moment they have no legal redress if bookmakers or casinos fail to honour their debts, having to rely instead on a voluntary arbitration system for bookmakers and the Gaming Board for casinos. No casino in history has ever been ordered to pay up on a debt that was welched upon, and I have seen a few with my own eyes. The review, chaired by Sir Alan Budd, calls for tougher scrutiny of the industry, overseen by a powerful new gambling regulator. It would assume responsibility for handing out licences to companies and senior staff, who would have to prove they have no criminal record. The industry will also have to open its books regularly to prove its finances are above-board. Don't hold your breath!

Back in the capital city, in the 12 months ending April 30, the amount of money wagered on the Las Vegas Strip on baccarat - considered the main barometer of high-end play totaled $2.8 billion, down 10.9 per cent from the year- ago period, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Confounding critics however, May has seen a 5.5% increase from last year and the world seems back on track for now. The tough summer months may be the most revealing.

On home turf the bookmaker William Hill kept Mr Portillo favourite at 8-11 for the opposition leadership, while Mr Duncan Smith was installed at 7-4. Mr Clarke was 3-1, with both Mr Ancram and Mr Davis 33-1 outsiders. After the galant Mr. Portillo came out for changes in the laws for homosexual consent he can only be dead in the water as the average age of the Tory party's 300,000 strong membership is 64!! Not the most liberal of demo graphs. Back against him.

One to back though is Stanley Leisure, previously they have been hit by casino loses to high rollers and the foot and mouth disaster. The inside word is that the big spenders came back and spent and with the disaster over its full steam ahead. More than that though is the new regime of no tax which will benefit Stanley's betting business more than any other because it is almost entirely mainland. Good reports later this year and early next will see the share price move up.