iGB Diary: fines, MPs and lies

| By Hannah Gannage-Stewart
This week we ponder who will be the target of the GC's next major fine and query the legitimacy of Tracey Crouch's moral high ground

In this week's diary we ponder who will be the target of the Gambling Commission's next major fine and query the legitimacy of the moral high ground taken by Tracey Crouch yesterday. Was it a well reasoned stand against the government's disregard for the vulnerable? Or was yesterday's letter to the PM more rhetoric than reality?

Everything’s fine
If you think the GC’s gone a little quiet lately, it may be because it’s busy calculating its next raft of gargantuan fines. The rumour mill has been churning out speculation over a big fine for a sizeable north of England-headquartered operator for nearly six months now but iGB hears a smaller household name is also staring down the barrel of a £22m rap on the knuckles. Those in the know say the plucky online casino has enlisted the services of a seriously heavyweight lawyer to barter down the headline figure significantly before it's made public. Whether the casino in question breaks even after the legal fees is anyone’s guess! In fairness to said casino, iGB understands that it is not uncommon for the GC’s fines to start sky high and be whittled down by lawyers before they find their way to the press. Fines dished out to 888, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair, for example, are thought to have started considerably north of the figures published after all the possible mitigations were wrung out by their legal teams.

Tracey Crouch’s resignation yesterday has attracted the usual scrutiny from Twitter. The notoriously left-leaning social media platform was, somewhat unsurprisingly, broadly supportive of the sports minister’s principled stance. Offering his applause across party lines Labour MP David Lammy said she could hold her head high after fighting the good fight against FOBTs and ‘putting principle ahead of ambition’ after the chancellor announced during the budget that the minimum stake would not be reduced to £2 until 2019.

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