The interim CEO of the Gambling Commission has urged wider compliance from UK operators, with a statement published during Safer Gambling Week observing “there are still far too many operators not abiding by our rules.” It may be a new chief executive, but it’s the same bullying messaging from the regulator.. So much for problem gambling rates reaching its lowest ever level.
Andrew Rhodes urged operators “to face the facts” on gambling harm, and work collaboratively toward a safer industry through data analysis programmes such as the recently-unveiled Single Customer View.
“In an ideal world we would have little to do. But we’re nowhere near that,” said Rhodes. “The last few years is a tale of escalating enforcement by the Commission, not less.”
“Now we want to get to that ideal, with the level of harm caused by gambling dwindling, and having a constructive and collaborative relationship with industry can be part of how we get there.”
Though Rhodes noted that more than 40 percent of the population gambled during the prior four week period, he added that £450 per second was lost by people gambling in the UK during 2019/20, stating “for millions, this is the cost of having a good time. But for hundreds of thousands of people it’s problem gambling. It is harm.”
“Gambling is normal but harm must not be. We will continue to work to drive the levels of harm down. There are still far too many operators not abiding by our rules and that is not acceptable.”
“We want a constructive relationship with industry. But it must be on the basis of compliance and for all the good efforts made, we still see too many instances of things that everyone agrees are things we should not be seeing. These things are not historic – they are happening now.”
Rhodes hailed the commission’s Single Customer View solution as means of “helping operators solve their own problem,” with the “ambitious and complex undertaking” angled toward providing a holistic view of online gambling behaviour in order to reduce gambling harms.
“We are more focussed than ever on our core purpose of making gambling fairer, safer and crime free. We want to collaborate with the gambling industry in this work. But to do so we all need to face the facts.”