Why is the mandatory fee imposed on the UK gambling industry still a die roll?

Why is the mandatory fee imposed on the UK gambling industry still a die roll?

06.05.2021 0 By Andrzej Sikorski

T. Bookmakers should contribute to the funding of gambling addiction treatment out of the discussion these days. Even companies agree with that. Their industry organization, the Betting and Gaming Council, often boasts of how its top members volunteered to increase joint funding for educational and therapeutic services to £ 100m over the period 2019-2023.

The problem, however, is obvious: promises are voluntary. Although £ 100m, even spread over several years, sounds like a large sum, it seems to have been lifted out of thin air. Nobody would argue that this comes close to covering the cost of public money providing even the current patchy level of treatment for addiction.

This is the context of the call by Claire Murdoch, NHS England's National mental director of health, for a mandatory industry fee. He says the NHS is "there to pick up the pieces" as the number of people seeking help to stop gambling has increased.

Murdoch is not alone in lobbying for a mandatory fee. The Gambling Commission, the government's regulatory body, is in favor. Likewise, BeGambleAware, the charity that receives most of the funding from the industry. And the deputies of all the major parties support the obligatory path.

The government review of gambling laws, launched last December, may adopt this measure - in fact, it is in the remuneration mandate. It's just that the advertising and marketing restrictions and the spin speed of online roulette usually get the most attention. There is a risk that the mandatory fee that may have been introduced many years ago continues to fall between the cracks.

Start with the first rules. How much would it cost to treat gambling addiction as a public health problem recognized as being? And what is it reasonable to expect the industry to pay more than the usual taxes on profits? The answer to the second question is certainly more than the symbolic sums of £ 20 million a year.

Does Credit Suisse revisit the old guide?

Credit Suisse has accomplished a simple task: it has fired some senior managers, cut top-level bonuses, and told shareholders that they would have to live with a lower dividend following the Archegos and Greensill disasters. Neither of these, however, signifies a new strategy that the Swiss bank probably requires after it has found itself in the center of two of its most serious outbursts in the financial markets this year.

For Archegos Credit Suisse, he has insufficient excuse that other large banks have also faced the collapse of a Bill Hwang-managed fund. This factor, however, does not explain why Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, also operating as prime brokers, were able to escape the scene and liquidate their exposures, while the Swiss bank and Nomura slowly emerged from the blocks. A massive $ 4.7 billion drop in earnings suggests the failure of the entire risk control system.

The initial financial pain in Greensill is less (although let's see what lawsuits are brought by clients exposed to the funds affected it brings in) but the loss of reputation is arguably greater. It is one thing for the greedy or gullible former British prime minister to get caught up in Lex Greensill's joyful conversation about reinventing supply chain financing, but a Swiss bank's default setting is prudence and skepticism. Credit Suisse appears to be repackaging loans in line with the pre-2008 bad old-age guidance.

Good luck to António Horta-Osório, the new president, in clearing up the mess. The challenge looks at least as intimidating as the one he faced at Lloyds, who at least had the comfort of leadership in the UK retail banking market. In investment banking, it is not obvious why Credit Suisse is trying to compete internationally.

Pouring oil into troubled waters

BP managed to break down some assets and the price of crude oil rose. The mechanical effect is that loans fell faster than expected, to a target of "only" $ 35 billion. So the corporate mind turned to share repurchase to cheer up shareholders after last year's dividend cut.

The temptation can be seen, but oil companies reliably judge when their stocks are cheap. Ask Shell, who has been cheerfully buying until they cut their dividends. Investors shouldn't celebrate too early.