Neil McArthur praises ‘demonstrable progress’ in combating problem gambling

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Neil McArthur has praised the ‘encouraging increase’ of gambling operators which are utilising both algorithms and machine learning to crack down on gambling related harms.

Speaking at the Southbank Centre yesterday, McArthur confirmed that the UKGC plans to launch its next Raising Standards Conference early next year, however called for a bi-annual meeting of CEOs from the gambling industry to ‘keep track of progress, issues and opportunities.’

The UKGC CEO explained that there has been ‘demonstrable progress’ in ‘markers of harm, customer interaction, affordability checks.’

McArthur commented: “There has been an encouraging increase in the number of operators investing in and developing algorithms and machine learning to identify customers who may be experiencing harm.

“We have also seen increasing numbers of operators evaluating the effectiveness of their identification tools and customer interaction processes.”

Alongside the launch of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in April of this year, it was emphasised that industry leaders must continue to remain ‘active’ in enforcing the measures.

He added: “In the last few weeks we have seen some encouraging steps taken by the industry: The announcement about increased commitments to RET are welcome; and the announcement that Lord Chadlington will oversee an independent committee to review where the money should be spent is also welcome.

“But we need these initiatives to be properly coordinated and fit under the strategy, otherwise good intentions and significant increases in funding will not deliver the outcome we all want, which is: Better prevention and education, Better treatment and support.

The use of technology in combating problem gambling was a large focus of McArthur’s address at Southbank, as he urged the industry to ‘build on and accelerate’ the work that has already been done.

He said: “We know the technology capability exists to facilitate a single consumer view and making that work would significantly enhance player safety.

“We want to build on and accelerate the work that has already taken place, by holding a collaborative ‘tech sprint’ bringing together the gambling industry, tech providers, data scientist, academics, researchers, financial services providers and the Commission to plan a way forward.

“We need your organisations to step forward to provide the right resource from your companies – leadership, financial, technical expertise, data, to make this happen.

“Where we can we will support you in kick starting this work but where we see a lack of commitment and failure to meet standards, we will continue to be firm.

“If we work together I am sure we can make gambling fairer and safer.”

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