Marcus Boyle says Gambling Commission will introduce cumulative fines

Marcus Boyle was named chairman of the Gambling Commission in September.
Marcus Boyle was named chairman of the Gambling Commission in September.

The new chairman of the Gambling Commission has made his first public statement, heralding a new, tougher approach from the British regulator.

UK.- Marcus Boyle, who was appointed chairman of Britain’s Gambling Commission last September, has voiced plans for a tougher approach from the regulator. He made his first public communication in an op-ed for The Times in which he criticised “persistently failing operators”.

Boyle replaced Bill Moyes, who left the Gambling Commission in the wake of the collapse Football Index. The government launched an investigation into that affair, and of course, it’s been looking into gambling legislation in general as part of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act. But Boyle says he won’t wait for the government to publish its delayed gambling white paper to get started with reforms.

He said that regulatory penalties had proved to be ineffective as deterrents and that the regulator has continued to find examples of operators acting regardless of customer care duties. As such, he says the regulator will introduce “cumulative sanction packages” that will increase financial penalties.

Boyle said this would involve “fines being based on a percentage of customer takings, short or long-term suspensions and attaching significant conditions to licences“. He said the regulator’s enforcement approach would switch to focus on changing operator behaviour and would require full oversight of corporate governance and personal accountability for the management of licences.

He wrote: “We will not tolerate an attitude of lowest possible compliance being sufficient. We expect our licence-holders to genuinely commit and learn from failings. Licences will be withdrawn where standards are not met, meaning that individuals could not hold senior positions in the industry. Licence-holders should aim for the highest standards.”

New standards audit and accreditation

Boyle said the Gambling Commission will work with leading operators to study their safer gambling algorithms and how the operators react to protect players. Meanwhile, the regulator will introduce a “new mandatory, independent audit of standards and accreditation for those achieving the highest levels”.

Following the line of minister Chris Philps, he also stressed the importance of using technology and data, with the creation of a single customer view a major objective. He also suggested that players should be subjected to “soft credit checks that do not have an impact on their credit rating to provide real-time affordability assessments”.

He concluded: “I welcome the Gambling Act review and believe that it will result in a legislative environment that meets the needs of this global industry and gives the commission the capacity to regulate it. This will help to keep people safe from harm while keeping the enjoyment of the recreational gambler.”

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