Andrew Rhodes’ role at UKGC reportedly set to become permanent

Interim UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Andrew Rhodes is reportedly set to take on a more permanent role at the regulatory body, according to The Guardian.

The newspaper reported that the government has made the decision due to Rhodes’ commitment to cracking down on ‘recidivist behaviour’ by betting and gaming operators, ahead of the publishing of the 2005 Gambling Act review White Paper.

In addition to overseeing the final stages of the Gambling Act review, Rhodes will also be responsible for coordinating the bidding contest for the Fourth National Lottery Licence, choosing whether incumbent Camelot or challengers Allwyn, Sisal and Northern & Shell Group will secure the 10 year contract. 

Rhodes was appointed interim CEO of the UKGC in July last year, taking over the position from Sarah Gardner, who herself initially took on responsibility for leadership of the regulator after the resignation of Neil McArthur.

It was initially confirmed that Rhodes – who had previously held senior positions at the Department of Work and Pensions, Food Standards Agency and the DVLA – would work under the terms of an 18 month contract. 

He joined the Commission at a contentious time last year, as McArthur’s resignation followed substantial criticism of the regulator following the collapse of Football Index, a situation in which some accused the body as acting too late. 

As argued by the Guardian, government figures have been impressed with Rhodes’ increasingly hardline stance against gambling industry infractions in recent months, with the CEO notably issuing warnings at the annual GambleAware conference in December.

Describing the aforementioned ‘recidivist behaviour’ of certain operators, Rhodes informed the GambleAware audience that “We are seeing the same companies committing the same offences for second or even third times”.

He added: “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.”

Rhodes also offered some insight on the Gambling Commission’s role under his leadership, underscoring a need for greater data usage, cross-industry collaboration and an aim to allow regulated gambling that is consistent with licensing objectives. 

He explained. “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.”

According to the Guardian, Rhodes permanent appointment is set to be confirmed by DCMS Secretary Nadine Dorries ‘imminently’, with a salary of £150,000.

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