Original Review Article (Essays, Opinion Pieces, and/or Book Reviews)
In 2000, Sir Alan Budd, the noted economist was asked by the British Government to chair a review of the nation’s gambling laws. The resulting ‘The Report of the Gambling Review Body’ (referred to here as ‘The Budd Report’ or ‘Budd’) was published a year later and provided a blueprint for how gaming and betting would subsequently be regulated under a major new piece of legislation - the Gambling Act 2005 (the ‘2005 Act’ or the ‘Gambling Act’).
The work of the Gambling Review Body (the ‘Review Body’) was undertaken at considerable expense and effort – more than 200 submissions were evaluated, 20 evidence gathering sessions were held, a number of overseas jurisdictions were visited. In the end, a 201-page report was produced. The Review Body’s 176 recommendations for how gambling ought to be regulated were based upon a set of explicitly stated policy objectives designed to further the interests of the British consumer - balancing extended choice with enhanced protections.
It was the last time that gambling was subjected to such intense scrutiny in Great Britain; the last time that such a wide variety of regulatory options were weighed with such consideration. It is to be lamented that in the 15 years since the publication of the Budd Report – a period of profound change in the British gambling market – there has been no systematic attempt to assess whether the ambitions of the Review Body have been achieved.
The aim of this essay is to do precisely that – to examine how gambling in Great Britain has developed through the prism of Budd’s aspirations.