The UK’s gambling regulator the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been defending its approach to the regulation of the UK sector in front of a House of Lords Select Committee.
The UKGC Chief Executive, Neil McArthur and Dr Bill Moyes, the Chairman, were giving evidence to the Committee that is conducting an investigation into the impact of the gambling industry on UK society and on the UK economy. Speaking at the two-hour hearing yesterday, Moyes and McArthur spoke on a range of issues, including their strategy of regulation through collaboration.
The hearing also addressed the 2005 Gambling Act. The leader of the Committee, Lord Grade, asked the UKGC leaders whether they felt that the Act was an anachronism. In response, Dr Moyes said that although the Act had deficiencies, it continued to provide a foundation for the work of the UKGC, and that the wider issue of the promotion of gambling was beyond their remit:
“Mostly we still find that the legislation facilitates what we want to do. The question of whether a government is right to promote gambling is more a matter of public policy rather than the legislation itself.”
The UKGC also defended their strategy on regulating the UK gambling sector. McArthur said that the organisation attempts to achieve consistency in the way that the UK gambling sector operates, including on such issues as the prevention of gambling harm and the promotion of safe gambling.
He also defended the strategy of adopting a collective approach to tackling gambling problems. He said that the strategy had been related to a much tougher enforcement and compliance regime, emphasising that the UKGC had been focused on changing the behaviour of operators, as there had been too many examples of repeated failures. He also reported that the UKGC had more than 100 technology providers, operators and experts in place to help find ways to use technology to boost consumer safety.
Following two-year since its implementation, McArthur continues to back the ‘three strands’ guiding the National Strategy in tougher enforcement, collaboration and innovation. He and Dr Moyes agree that the National Strategy has changed industry mindsets at a ‘boardroom level’, with new leadership dedicated to changing corporate cultures on tackling gambling harms.