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WHAT A STATE WE’RE IN….

Discussing our forthcoming visit to the ALR show in Almaty this month, a colleague told me an interesting fact about Kazakhstan – apparently, it is the country containing the most parts of jettisoned space rockets in the world, for, launches in nearby Russia, Ironic then that this market is very much on the ascendancy as Russia almost grinds to a halt.

      When I’d digested this fascinating piece of trivia, I got a bit annoyed.  Not just at the day-to-day things that annoy all of us, or at my colleague I hasten to add, but at the seemingly erratic and inconsistent levels of state intervention when it comes to gambling legislation.
      Russia, which clearly needs and wants a well-regulated industry, is being stalled once more on the issue of licensing, after knee-jerk restrictions were imposed last summer and the industry was forced to effectively hold its breath until further notice.  In the UK, it seems to be even worse, or more ridiculous, by the day.  The government stance  seems to have been taken either on quicks and or bundled into the back of a car continuously circling the same roundabout, as the suggested limits on new regional casino development go from 24, to eight., to one. Now it might go back to eight again  or not.
      Apart from being embarrassing to the government, easy meat for opposition and critics and some of the more panic-laden, scare- mongering sections of the national press in the UK, it’s confusing.  Confusing for those who are vying for the license(s), those will be regulating the industry, and more importantly, the consumers.  It’s not a barrel of laughs for trade journalists either.
      In Asia, government is Singapore and Macau, even Korea, have shown a more admirable approach.  Making decisions and sticking to them.  Laying out clear guidelines of what will be expected of operators.  Being proactive to allay fears of community groups and explain the rationale behind the decisions made.       Frankly, the UK government has made a total has of the new legislation, and the PR job that accompanied it.  No wonder the opposition has turned it into a running joke, with in ept ministers and unclear information all that the ministers and unclear information all that the poor public can digest.  The Irish Justic Minister Michael McDowell, also seems to favor the highly progressive step of shutting down anything resembling a casino or gaming club, instead of simply updating 50-year-old legislation and giving already put-upon operators a chance.
      It’s clear that not only a firm governmental stance is needed over gaming, but also a clear communication of what the legislation is and what it means on street level.  Let’s hope the Moscow State Duma and the Irish Parliament, among others, takes heed and starts to generate some positive PR about this industry for once

 

 
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