The UK Gambling Commission has announced that it’s working with an interim ‘Experts by Experience Group,’ as well as co-creating a permanent ‘Experts by Experience Advisory Group’.

The former is a collaboration designed to provide advice, evidence and recommendations to help inform decision making and raise standards, with the latter subsequently being set-up to advise the regulator on a more established basis. 

The interim group will be in place for a minimum period of six months, when the UKGC plans to move to its permanent group which will add to other advice that the regulator receives through forums such as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and the Digital Advisory Panel.

Not currently disclosing any participating members, the regulator asserts that input gained will add significant insight as it strives to include the views of consumers. This includes information and feedback received from the consumer contact centres, online consumer research panels and engagement and consultations on regulatory changes.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, explained: “Our goal is to make gambling safer for consumers and the creation of the interim group is another important step in helping us bring a wider range of perspectives into our work.

“We will work with the interim group to co-create a formal advisory board, which will allow us to involve Experts by Experience more closely in the development of our regulatory framework.

“I am really grateful for the open and constructive way in which members of the interim group have shared their personal experiences of gambling related harm and for everyone’s commitment to work together to tackle these important issues.  

“It is early days and we are learning along the way to ensure that feedback and advice is utilised in the most effective way. This week we looked at the subject of affordability and we’ll be focused on other areas of player protection online in the weeks ahead.”

This creation follows the UKGC’s March workshops which saw individuals with lived experience asked to offer perspectives on key topics including high value customers,  advertising technology and safe game design – three areas the regulator had challenged the industry to make progress on quickly. 

The group also discussed ideas about how the Commission could better work with people with lived experience, and the need for more effective engagement and collaboration to benefit consumers, working together to prevent harm and make gambling safer.

“The interim group comprises a group of people who have suffered a wide range of gambling harms, including recovering gambling addicts, family and partners of addicts, and those who have lost children to gambling suicides,” a spokesperson for the interim group commented.

“The role that is too often allocated to Experts by Experience of telling our stories and commenting on narrowly defined questions is ineffective, so the establishment of the group is long overdue.

“We are determined that EbEs should play a continuing and much more active role in the deliberations and decision making across the whole remit of the Commission as part of the National Strategy to reduce gambling harms. We bring a new and vital perspective on key issues of regulation and even how the Commission itself works.

“We and they are learning how we can best work together, but we feel that there is a genuine commitment all round to make it work. Some of our comments were incorporated into the progress update on the industry-led working groups, but in future we may issue our own comments on issues that we have consulted with the Commission. 

“We appreciate that the Commission recognises the value of our input, but we differ on certain key issues. Notably on how far and how fast improvements can be made. We look forward to working with the Commission.”