Gambling Commission Responds to Criticism

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has responded to recent criticism from Parliamentarians by announcing that it will be considering new measures for the UK gambling sector. The Commission says that it will be considering what it describes as ‘additional steps’ to protect vulnerable customers, following criticism that it was ‘toothless’.

Earlier this week, a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report blasted the UKGC along with the DCMS, the government department that oversees it for not doing enough to protect customers and for what they described as a weak understanding of gambling harm.

The Committee held an evidence session with Sarah Healey, the DCMS Permanent Secretary and the UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur and considered a number of written submissions, before producing its report that recommended an overhaul of gambling regulation, including the launch of league tables that would name operators who fail on customer protection. The report also said that there should be changes made to the way the UKGC is funded.

In its response, the UKGC has said that it is considering the findings of the new report and that it was committed to making progress on gambling regulation. A spokesman said that they have already brought forward a series of measures that addressed issues already highlighted:

“Over the past two years we have strengthened player protection measures, tightened the regulation of the online sector, introduced strict age and ID verification checks, brought in a ban on gambling with credit cards and been tougher through our enforcement activity.”

The UKGC has also focused on its recent launch of Experts by Experience, an advisory group that will offer advice and guidance on enhanced regulatory measures. But the spokesperson said that the UKGC accepted that more can be done and that they were studying the report carefully to determine what additional steps they could take to protect vulnerable individuals.

The UK gambling industry group, the Betting and Gaming Council, has also issued a response to the report. They stated that the industry was working hard to help those at risk, and noted that there had been no evidence of an increase in problem gambling. They also warned about the risk of driving consumers to offshore, unregulated sites, and emphasised their commitment to making more changes and continuing to drive up better safe gambling standards in the industry.

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