The interim CEO of the Gambling Commission has accused UK operators of “recidivist behaviour” in integrating compliance measures, warning “there is simply too much harm from gambling.” Nice. And this is the man who says he wants to work with the industry? After this speech at the GambleAware conference, it sounds more like the pot calling the kettle black
The Gambling Commission has accused UK operators of “recidivist behaviour” in failing to enact compliance measures, with the regulator’s interim CEO stating “penalties are no substitute for raising standards.”
Speaking during the recent GambleAware annual conference, Andrew Rhodes claimed that the industry is currently responsible for “too much harm” to allow the possibility of meaningful collaboration between the commission and stakeholders.
“In terms of our role at the Gambling Commission, our job is to permit gambling as long as that is consistent with the licensing objectives,” said Rhodes. “Those objectives say that gambling must be fair, crime-free and protect the vulnerable from harm.”
“In an ideal world, the Commission would have little to do beyond licensing operators. But that is far from the case… We are no way near that at this point in time. There is simply too much harm from gambling as a result of too little compliance amongst too many operators.”
Having recently revoked ten licences and recovered more than £100m from noncompliant operators, Rhodes voiced his concern that many industry leaders view fines as part of necessary expenditure on overheads.
“We are seeing the same companies committing the same offences for a second or even third time. It’s a recidivist behaviour, and I have a concern that those operators are starting to see fines as a compliance measure, that is something that we are not prepared to tolerate.”
Though acknowledging the positive role collaboration between the commission and stakeholders has played in achieving key National Strategy aims, Rhodes dismissed concerns raised by operators that further regulation will lead to growth in illegal gambling.
“We are not going to be deflected away from that mission, in some sort of race to the bottom, because others are worse,” added Rhodes. “That’s the whole point of having a regulated market.”
“We are aware that if you introduce the wrong friction, you can drive consumers to the black market, but we are nowhere near that. Our regulatory posture has changed because there are too many cases that make everyone blush… and that has to stop.”