“Marc Etches’ dream of Vegas-style casinos and £1m jackpots is coming true”, was the prediction made in 2004 by the man who now heads up the bookmaker funded, and recently rebranded, Gamble Aware.
Etches who headed up the doomed bid to turn Blackpool into the UK’s Las Vegas was described as “the gambling lobby’s most visible face” and “a one man lobbying machine”. No wonder the bookies kept him on as CEO when they rebranded their discredited Responsible Gambling Trust after its Chairman was found lobbying to defend FOBTs.
Despite Etches narrowly avoiding the chop, word has it that the Parliamentary Office of Information Science and Technology is investigating UK gambling research and their early comments should spark a little concern for the one-man lobbyist “..with funding and research grant awarding largely determined by the industry-funded RGT. There is a debate as to what extent this arrangement encourages high quality independent research on gambling to take place.” There certainly is!
More direct criticism of Etches came from the recent All Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry into FOBTs which noted “… the Group urges [the RGT] to consider undertaking research in this important area [FOBT stake reduction] and was not convinced by their explanation as to why they had not.”
You may not have heard of Marc Etches, but this “one man lobbying machine” has been and remains to be, the bookmakers’ “Maginot Line” defending FOBTs, but in the end we all know what happened to that!
Content produced and sponsored by Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFFG)