SBC News UKGC leads on international collaboration for globalised online gambling

UKGC leads on international collaboration for globalised online gambling

The Global Gaming Expo (G2E) has witnessed a call for greater international cooperation by regulatory authorities led by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Yesterday, Tim Miller, the Executive Policy Director of the UKGC, addressed G2E delegates, outlining the entwined realities and responsibilities of governing gambling as a globalised marketplace.

The executive provided an overview of the Commission’s regulatory actions governing the UK market – which generates a gross gambling yield £10bn per year (excluding lottery contributions) “making the British jurisdiction the largest licenced online market in the world

Miller cited that a reformed Commission has gained “uncompromising powers to enforce its rules” which, during the financial year of 2022/23, summoned four enforcement cases with operators sanctioned to the tune of more than £60m due to regulatory failures.

He continued: “Operators are taking note. One leading operator recently told us from their own research that nine out of 10 of the largest enforcement penalties worldwide and 85 percent of all enforcement action in gambling worldwide has been carried out by the UK Gambling Commission.” 

Beyond its domestic policies, the Commission recognises the changing dynamics of online gambling brought on by the international expansion of businesses across all continents.

As globalisation has expanded the commercial frontiers of online gambling operators, the importance of international collaboration among regulators is paramount. Miller stated: “That’s why we think international collaboration is so vital between gambling regulators. Increasingly we regulate the same companies; we address the same risks; we face the same challenges.”

Keeping pace with radical changes, Miller said that the UKGC is determined to lead efforts on regulatory collaboration, in which “it regularly talks about the importance of international collaboration between regulators, and we work hard to strengthen our relationships with other regulators abroad”.

Of strategic importance, Chairman Marcus Boyle currently spearheads the Commission to secure “a number of Memoranda of Understanding with US regulators, in order to establish clear working relationships that will support all of us to be more effective”.

The importance of enhancing international collaboration on matters related to illegal online gambling is of vital importance as regulators tackle similar issues across all jurisdictions. 

Miller also offered the view that enforcement on illegal gambling was recognised as a complex and conflicting issue between authorities as “what might be illegal in one jurisdiction might not be in another”.

However, he said that the Commission remained “focussed on working upstream to shut down the access that illegal sites targeting the British market have to our consumers. And through engagement and collaboration… we have been able to deliver some dramatic results, with a 46 percent reduction in traffic to the largest illegal sites coming into our market”. 

Expanding on the Commission’s collaborative efforts, Miller relayed how the Commission has worked recently with European regulators on how to better tackle illegal online gambling, as well as with other regulators including those in Australia and Curaçao.

Concluding his speech, he advocated for a strengthened collaborative approach among all regulatory stakeholders to navigate the complexities of a globalised business arena.  

“Gambling is a global industry with global operators. No regulator – regardless of their experience or scale can be the world police for this industry,” he warned. “But by working together and committing to collaboration, we can make sure we each achieve the safer, fairer and crime free gambling that we want for our jurisdictions and for our consumers.”

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