Neil McArthur is to depart his role of chief executive of the Gambling Commission after an almost 15 year tenure, with the regulator to shortly begin the process of recruiting a successor for an interim period.

This is to allow the successor to current chairman Bill Moyes, whose term of office ends later this year, to appoint a permanent chief executive in due course. 

Whilst the recruitment process is ongoing, deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones will jointly become acting chief executive.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission,” Moyes stated. “A lot has been achieved during his time here and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as chief executive.”

During McArthur’s time in the role, the UKGC says that it has gone through “a significant period of change as it equips itself to meet the challenges of regulating a rapidly changing and increasingly digital gambling market”. 

Confirming the departure, the UKGC added on McArthur’s time at the helm: “Neil has overseen strengthening of protections against gambling harms- through the banning of gambling on credit cards; through enhanced age verification checks; and, most recently, through new requirements to build in protections to the design of online products. 

“He has led moves to ensure that those impacted by gambling harms have their voices heard in the Commission’s decision making, culminating in the recent establishment of the lived experience advisory panel. Over the last 12 months Neil has also successfully navigated the organisation through the challenges that the global pandemic has brought.”

The departure comes at a busy time for the UKGC, amid the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act, under the stewardship of John Whittingdale, as well as the fourth licence process for the National Lottery. The regulator had previously said that it is aiming to name the preferred applicant in September 2021. 

McArthur stated of the decision to step aside: “I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges.

“With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new chief executive to lead the Commission on the next stage in its journey.”