UK regulator publishes first National Strategic Assessment

The Gambling Commission’s strategic assessment outlines risk areas and progress made.
The Gambling Commission’s strategic assessment outlines risk areas and progress made.

The report assesses gambling issues and risks and presents the regulator’s priorities.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has published its first National Strategic Assessment, highlighting the regulator’s priorities and assessing gambling issues and risks.

The assessment outlines the Commission’s priority actions to mitigate the risks of gambling and areas where it says it has made progress to make gambling safer.

Launch of the assessment coincides with the publication of the Commission’s annual Compliance and Enforcement Report, which includes findings from the regulator’s casework with licence holders.

The Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur, said: “We will use our National Strategic Assessment as the foundation for prioritising our work over the coming months and years.

“We look forward to working with the government on the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act and alongside that work we will be working hard to address the issues that we have identified in our Strategic Assessment.

“We have demonstrated that we are willing and able to respond quickly to emerging issues and risks and that we will use the full range of our powers to protect consumers.

“We have made considerable progress in many areas to make gambling safer – but we want to go further and faster.

“Holding an operating licence or a personal licence is a privilege, not a right, and we expect our licensees to protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly.

“Our latest report shows that where licensees fail to meet the standards we expect, we will take tough action, including the suspension and revocation of licences.

“It also charts how we are shifting our focus towards personal management licence holders – those in boardrooms and senior positions need to live up to their responsibilities and we will continue to hold people to account for failings they knew, or ought to have known, about.

“Everyone has a part to play to make gambling safer and learning the lessons from the failings identified in this report is one way of doing that.”

The compliance report shows that over the past financial year, the Commission has started reviews on 49 people who hold personal licences to operate gambling businesses, has suspended five operating licences and revoked 11. It also issued 12 packages of fines totalling over £30m.

The Commission conducted 350 compliance assessments of land-based and online operators and dealt with 630 reports of suspicious betting activity, sports rules breaches and misuse of inside information.

The full National Strategic Assessment is available on the Gambling Commission website.

The Commission has meanwhile urged licensees to continue to operate responsibly during the new national Covid-19 lockdown in England, highlighting the potential for a rise in problem gambling behaviour among players.

The regulator called on gambling operators to “play their part” by protecting customers and ensuring marketing is responsible.

McArthur said: “The gambling industry and daily life as a whole continues to be impacted by Covid-19 and during this time I want to ensure operators are both supported and aware of the expectations I have outlined above.

“We continue to be in touch with government and our colleagues at DCMS and I will provide further updates when required.”

The Gambling Commission has also recently opened a consultation on its proposed new affordability checks.

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