Bill Moyes, Chairman of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has backed the regulator’s ‘National Strategy’ on reducing problem gambling harms, protecting consumers and improving all-around industry standards.
Speaking at the ‘North West Reducing Gambling Harms’ conference launched by the community councils of Greater Manchester, Moyes backed the UKGC’s strategy of ‘challenging gambling operators’ and improving collaboration between all stakeholders tackling gambling harms.
Moyes comments follow criticism of the UKGC by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm, which lambasted the Commission for allowing GVC Holdings to lead the development of an ‘industry code of conduct on high-value customers’ (VIP programmes).
The UKGC Chairman has backed the regulator’s National Strategy, which has formed a broad approach on tackling gambling addiction, combined with a further understanding of complex dynamics faced by stakeholders.
“I have been Chair of the Gambling Commission for just over three years,” said Moyes. “In that time the Commission has developed a very strong focus on understanding the scale of gambling harm and developing effective plans to tackle this problem in partnership with others.”
In his address, Moyes maintains his support of the UKGC’s three core elements which established the National Strategy – i) creating a shared understanding of gambling addiction consequences, ii) continuously reviewing the UK regulatory regime, and iii) working with licensed operators to ensure that gambling is fair and safer for consumers.
With regards to consumer safety, Moyes understands political concerns warning betting leadership that ‘warm words are no longer enough’. Entering a new era, Moyes has urged betting industry leaders to change corporate culture on tackling industry issues by improving training and the development of staff.
He continued: “The evidence is not good. During my time a number of serious licence breaches have involved staff encouraging so-called VIP gamblers to gamble when they had self-excluded.
“So, we think that increasingly our enforcement activity will have to consider not just the company, but also the behaviour of key individuals, particularly those who currently hold personal licences or who might be required to hold licences in the future. Perhaps the threat of exclusion of specific individuals from the industry will have a greater impact than fining the company.”