Protect and serve? Commission launches three-year strategy and annual Business Plan

Gambling Commission Corporate Strategy 2021-2024
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Ahead of an important review later this year, the Gambling Commission’s new strategy sets out the regulator’s focus for the next three years as it continues its attempts to appease industry critics and those that believe the Commission is not fit for purpose.

 

The Gambling Commission has unveiled its new three-year Corporate Strategy alongside the launch of its 2021 to 2022 Business Plan.

The new strategy will be delivered through five priority areas; protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling; a fairer market and more informed consumers; keeping crime out of gambling; optimising returns to good causes from the National Lottery; improving gambling regulation.

Bill MoyesMeanwhile, the Commission’s 2021-22 Business Plan sets out the priorities to accelerate progress in making gambling safer for the public and players, including those at risk of harm and leisure gamblers. This includes a focus on improving the way the Commission regulates in parallel with other high-profile decisions to be announced later this year – such as the Government’s Gambling Review and a review of the Commission’s fees by DCMS.

“Our new three-year strategy maintains the ambition of our previous strategy and goes further in considering how best we can use our current resources,” said Gambling Commission chair Bill Moyes.

“We launch the new Strategy and our Business Plan, which details our milestones during what is going to be a hugely important year for compliance and consumer protection as the country starts to move out of lockdown after a challenging 12 months.

“Covid-19 has meant a shift in gambling habits and is exactly why the new strategy focuses on protecting consumers from harm, holding operators to account, creating a fairer market for all, and protecting the National Lottery.

“Additionally, the launch of the Gambling Act Review was a pivotal moment earlier this year and whilst our work continues, we are aware that we must continue to adjust and challenge ourselves depending on the outcomes of the Review.

“Over the next three years we will see the gambling industry change further, especially as the pace of innovation accelerates. As the regulator we must keep pace with that change, be ready to adapt, and ensure that the millions of people who gamble in Great Britain can do so safely.”

 

A TIME OF ALTERNATIVE FACTS

The advancement of science, statistics and information-sharing over the last two decades should have replaced society’s blissful ignorance on certain topics with evidence-backed knowledge.

However, while people may certainly believe themselves to be more informed than ever, there has also been a meteoric rise in ‘alternative facts’, witch-hunts and cult-like communities – formed not around blissful ignorance, but willful ignorance to serve a certain purpose. We have seen a former President of the United States harness the power of this strategy, denying established facts while weaponsing inconclusive half-truths to further his agenda. Despite only serving one term, the strategy served him relatively well, and so it is no surprise that it has been adopted by other organisations that wish to extend their power beyond the realms that reality, and evidence-based facts, should allow.

With pressure from anti-industry groups, the Gambling Commission has begun to incorporate willful ignorance into its strategy. Indeed, taking a precautionary approach until more evidence is available is one thing, but a Corporate Strategy that boldly states: “where evidence is mixed or inconclusive, we will not restrict our discretion by requiring conclusive proof” is taking a step beyond reality. And as we’ve all seen with the handling of Covid-19, the land of ‘alternative facts’ is full of dangerous and slippery slopes.


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