Gambling regulators must collaborate, Rhodes says

Andrew Rhodes spoke at the ICE 2022 World Regulatory Briefing.
Andrew Rhodes spoke at the ICE 2022 World Regulatory Briefing.

The Gambling Commission’s chief executive spoke at the ICE 2022 World Regulatory Briefing. 

UK.- British Gambling Commission interim chief executive Andrew Rhodes said in his appearance at the ICE 2022 World Regulatory Briefing in London that international gambling regulators must collaborate to tackle new challenges brought by changes in the industry.

He voiced hope for collaboration not only in sharing experiences and best practice, but also to conduct joint investigations and actions.

He told attendees: “Many of the operators we deal with in Great Britain will be the same as those dealt with in other jurisdictions. Things that are not being done well here are likely to be issues in other countries, too, when you consider these are multinationals. I hope that we can get to a point of joint investigations and joint action and move beyond some of the good things we already do.

“Gambling is a fast-moving, dynamic industry. It is more and more a global tech industry. And it has many hangers-on, trying to make a quick buck in the unregulated spaces nearby. The potential for innovation has never been so great. But neither has the potential for risk or harm. But we can make gambling fairer, safer and crime-free.”

He stressed the challenges posed by rapid changes in the gambling industry.

He said: “There is a whole new frontier of novel products out there now, and I want to talk about these unregulated products also. Like traditional gambling though, these novel products can and do cause harm, so I will update you on where we see our work in tackling gambling harms right now.”

Rhodes highlighted some of the Gambling Commission’s initiatives in recent years, including the ban on credit card gambling and new protections for high-value customers. However, he said regulators needed to be able to monitor operators beyond the policy frameworks and highlighted the Gambling Commission’s work on developing a Single Customer View to allow regulators and operators transparent data on gambling participation.

He said: “What we are hoping will be possible through the Single Customer View is a position where those who are being flagged as being in distress can be intercepted at a much earlier stage as operators are able to safely alert each other.

“We will be publishing the results of that trial in the coming months and if successful will look to build the new methodology into a new gold standard set of official statistics going forwards from next year. All this work, this innovation, of course, costs. In people, in time and in money. But we know the investment we make now will make gambling fairer and safer in the future. That’s not a bet, that’s a fact.”

The Single Customer View has been mentioned by gambling minister Chris Philp as a key development amid the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s review of British gambling legislation, which began in the last quarter of 2020. The government has yet to publish an expected gambling white paper outlining proposed reforms. Philp said in early March that the paper would be published “soon”.

Earlier this week, the Gambling Commission came under fire in the press for awarding itself £155m from National Lottery ticket sales to cover the costs of the tender for the lottery’s next licence.

The Daily Mail blasted the British regulator on Saturday accusing it of making “a raid” on National Lottery funds to cover its admin costs, which were £50m over budget. The newspaper says the money should have been used “to support cash-starved charities and community groups”.

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