Sir Christopher Kelly enjoyed a civil service career, becoming Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. The principles of public life are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
However, Sir Chris made the mistake of thinking he was capable of heading the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) which has formed the National Responsible Gambling Strategy for years.
He set the questions for the highly controversial “independent” research into FOBTs by the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT), an organisation so toxic that it had to re-brand as GambleAware. The RGT research was the basis upon which ex-PM David Cameron told the House that there was going to have a “proper look” at FOBTs.
But Sir Chris “forgot” to ask any questions about FOBT stakes. He is critical of simulation research but “forgets” to mention that the bookies refused to allow non-simulated research in betting shops.
He states that data from FOBTs acquired by the Gambling Commission provides “real evidence” but neither the RGSB nor the Gambling Commission has bothered to explain what the “evidence” in the data actually is, or what it means.
How can anyone not gambling, not talking to gamblers and not independently visiting gambling premises purport to understand gambling?
The media, political and public attention on the continued disaster of FOBTs are a reflection of the failings of the RGSB and the strategy under Sir Christopher Kelly.
From the perspective of the principles of public life – maybe it’s time for him to retire.
Content produced and sponsored by Campaign for Fairer Gambling