UKGC to consider extra measures after report

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee was highly critical of the gambling regulator.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee was highly critical of the gambling regulator.

The Gambling Commission is to consider new measures in response to MPs’ claims that the UK regulator is “torpid and toothless”.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has announced it will consider “additional steps” to protecting vulnerable gamblers after a UK parliamentary report lambasted what it called a “torpid, toothless regulator”. 

This week’s House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report blasted the Gambling Commission and the government department that oversees it for failing “to adequately protect consumers” and for an “unacceptably weak understanding” of gambling harm.

Based on one evidence session with DCMS Permanent Secretary Sarah Healey and Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur plus 17 written submissions, the report recommended a “radical overhaul” of gambling regulation, including the introduction of league tables to “name and shame” operators that perform badly on customer protection.

It also suggested there should be changes to the way the Gambling Commission is funded.

The UKGC has responded saying that it was “carefully considering” the findings of the new report and was committed to making “further and faster progress” on problem gambling.

A spokesperson said: “We are committed to making even further and faster progress to address gambling harms and were already addressing a number of the issues highlighted by the National Audit Office earlier this year.

“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 Commission highlighted its recent launch of an advisory group dubbed Experts by Experience, which will provide advice on enhanced measures.

It said: “In recent weeks we have also established an Experts by Experience advisory group who will help us to strengthen our efforts and help ensure we make an impact where it matters.

“We accepted before the Committee that there is always more to do and we are carefully considering the findings of their report to see what other additional steps we can take.”

The UK industry group, the Betting and Gaming Council, has also responded to the report.

It said: “The industry is working hard to raise standards to help problem gamblers and those at risk, though we note that both the regulator and the government have made it clear that there is no evidence that problem gambling has increased.

“Our industry is already heavily regulated. We mustn’t drive customers to offshore, black market, illegal operators that don’t have any of our safeguards, and we do want to see more action taken against the unregulated industry.

“We are committed to making more voluntary changes and driving up safer gambling standards. We will work with the Gambling Commission and the government to achieve this, particularly on the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act.”

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