UKGC publishes first National Strategic Assessment

The UK Gambling Commission has addressed the ‘issues and risks gambling presents to consumers and the public’ with the launch of its first ever National Strategic Assessment.

The document is said to use the latest available evidence, from a wide range of sources and case studies, to assess the issues and the risks gambling presents to consumers and the public.  

It will outline the UKGC’s priority actions in addressing the risks associated with gambling while also highlighting a number of areas where ‘significant progress is already made to make gambling safer’.

“We will use our National Strategic Assessment as the foundation for prioritising our work over the coming months and years,” noted Neil McArthur, UKGC chief executive, when discussing the launch.

“We look forward to working with the government on the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act and alongside that work we will be working hard to address the issues that we have identified in our Strategic Assessment.

“We have demonstrated that we are willing and able to respond quickly to emerging issues and risks and that we will use the full range of our powers to protect consumers. We have made considerable progress in many areas to make gambling safer – but we want to go further and faster.”

Alongside the launch of the National Strategic Assessment comes the publication of the regulator’s annual Compliance and Enforcement Report. 

The report features the findings of the regulator’s extensive casework against licence holders and detailing where the industry needs to raise standards.

This year’s report sets out how over the last financial year the Commission’s work has included:

  • Commencing reviews on 49 people who hold personal licences to operate gambling businesses.
  • Suspending five operating licences.
  • Revoking 11 operating licences.
  • Issuing 12 financial penalty packages of regulatory settlements – totalling over £30m.
  • Carrying out 234 security audits and 33 website reviews.
  • Conducting 350 compliance assessments of land-based and online operators.
  • Dealing with 630 reports of suspicious betting activity, sports rules breaches and misuse of inside information.
  • Generating over 3,000 intelligence reports.

Commenting on the report, McArthur added: “Holding an operating licence or a personal licence is a privilege, not a right, and we expect our licensees to protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly.

“Our latest report shows that where licensees fail to meet the standards we expect, we will take tough action, including the suspension and revocation of licences. It also charts how we are shifting our focus towards personal management licence holders – those in boardrooms and senior positions need to live up to their responsibilities and we will continue to hold people to account for failings they knew, or ought to have known, about.

“Everyone has a part to play to make gambling safer and learning the lessons from the failings identified in this report is one way of doing that.”