After a rocky few years for the Gambling Commission and its leadership, Marcus Boyle has been appointed as the regulator’s new Chair with a to-do list that includes; appointing a permanent CEO, restoring the regulator’s reputation, and getting recommendations for the upcoming gambling review right. That is, of course, if the regulator manages to stay the course past the government’s gambling review.
Marcus Boyle has been appointed the new Chair of the Gambling Commission for a term of five years ahead of an upcoming review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
In what was the worst kept secret, DCMS Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed the appointment on 2 September, with Boyle’s experience in both public and private sector roles earning him the new office. The Commission noted his experience of leadership in the development and implementation “of a major programme of reform at a public sector body, driving change based on his robust financial management and governance capabilities”.
Boyle has been an equity partner for two leading global professional services firms including most recently at Deloitte, where he served as Board Member, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer. He is also Chair of the British American Drama Academy
However, none of his former positions will have put him under the same public scrutiny he will receive as the regulator’s Chair, with the Commission having a permanent CEO to appoint, a reputation to save following its blunder of the Football Index case, a National Lottery tender debacle and a gambling review to get right after its poorly received recommendation during the last triennial review.
“This is an important moment for the Gambling Commission as we fulfill our manifesto commitment to undertake the first major review of gambling laws in 15 years,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. “New leadership will bring a new direction and focus for the Commission and I very much look forward to working with Marcus. His expertise will be invaluable as he steers the Commission into a new era of gambling regulation fit for the digital age.”
For much of the industry, the appointment will be a welcome move; criticisms of the Commission have long rested in its abject failure to understand or even care about the business it oversees. Boyle, whilst no gaming specialist, is a neutral voice, with a leaning toward evaluation over emotion. And that will be a major step forward for the industry which has been effectively sidelined over the years by an institutional bias that has served to indoctrinate the structures of the Commission.
Picked ahead of competition with more experience in the industry, Boyle was touted as the most neutral candidate ahead of his official appointment, and that will please those looking for an evidence-based gambling review, rather than an emotional-based one.