UKGC: Market fairness comes first in new corporate strategy 

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has laid out the strategic objectives of its new ‘corporate strategy’ on how it will govern the licensed incumbents of the UK’s regulated gambling marketplace. 

Launching a ‘new three-year strategy’, the Commission stated that its ‘regulated market objectives’ will prioritise:

  • The prevention of gambling becoming a source of crime or social disorder
  • Ensuring that all gambling activities are conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling disorders.

The new strategy has been established taking in recommendations from the National Audit Office, Public Accounts Committee and House of Lords Select Committee on how to improve the UKGC’s organisation and resources governing licensed operators.

The Commission stated that the success of its new strategy will be evaluated on consumers regaining confidence in a sustainable marketplace that provides all consumers the facilities and safeguards to gamble safely.

“We want a fair and safe gambling market where all consumers and the interests of the wider public are protected,” said UKGC Chairman Dr William Moyes.

“Our mission is to make gambling fairer and safer. We do that by licensing and regulating in the public interest and providing advice and guidance.”

The UKGC underlined the importance of public perception as consumer trust in UK gambling had fallen from 49% in 2008 to a record low of 29% recorded during 2020.

Establishing a new approach, the Commission detailed that it has prioritised five strategic areas that it aims to improve during the next three years:

    • Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling
    • A fairer market and more informed consumers
    • Keeping crime out of gambling
    • Optimise returns to good causes from The National Lottery
    • Improving gambling regulation.

As part of its new vision for UK gambling, the Commission added that it will hold ‘deeper aspirations for licence holders’ – who will have to demonstrate through their conduct that they can participate in a fair marketplace.

The UKGC implored licensed operators to “prioritise a culture of compliance and commitment to doing the right thing for consumers that resonates at all levels of the business”.

Regulating incumbents, the UKGC maintained that it will continue to take a wider evidence-based approach, for which it has benefited from the real-life feedback of its Lived Experience Advisory Panel on minimising risks and improving public policies.

However, the Commission underscored that its new strategy would be strengthened by taking a tougher approach to its enforcement of licensing requirements related to operator compliance and conduct duties.

Moving forward, the UKGC will evaluate all licensed operators on their compliance standards ensuring that licensed operators are ‘fit for purpose across all stages of a customer’s journey with its operations’.

A tougher enforcement approach is outlined as a key priority as the UKGC aims to maintain its position as a “risk-based, evidence-led and outcomes-focused regulator”.

The Commission stated that it will immediately move to implement the outcomes of the government’s Gambling Act review, once concluded.

Preparing for upcoming changes, the Commission has restructured its operations to improve the skills of its workforce monitoring the industry, evaluating its policy outcomes and managing resources more effectively.

“Given the innovative and fast-moving nature of the industry we regulate, our regulatory approach cannot stand still,” it concluded. “Our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly we must act at times to continue to deliver our core functions and also to support our staff.

“We will continue to develop our people and approaches and continue to consider our resources to ensure we are a flexible and agile regulator with professional and engaged staff.”

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