The UK Gambling Commission‘s Director of Policy Ian Angus has stated that the commission will “continue to take unrelenting action” against any operator that fails to meet their standards.
Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, Angus explained that the UKGC’s future policy stance on non-compliance follows a wave of fines handed out to several operators due to social responsibility failings.
Since the start of 2022, a total of £76m in fines has been issued as a result of 27 enforcement cases, in comparison to £1.7m from three investigations during the 2016/17 financial year.
“The reason we’ve been forced to escalate our enforcement action like this in recent years is because each failing is not just a failing against our rules, it’s a failing for ordinary people, some of whom have suffered terrible harms as a result,” stated Angus.
He added: “Where we find operators failing to meet our standards we will continue to take unrelenting action.
“We think the action we are taking makes clear what our expectations are. And at the volume we’re now broadcasting them, we are pretty sure those operators who were still deaf to them a year or two ago, are now getting the message.
“Driving up the standards of gambling operators through our compliance and enforcement work is an important focus and will remain so. But we also want to work with the industry to improve protections for consumers as well as improving the evidence base and our regulation in general.
“Whilst we have previously been criticised for our efforts to be collaborative, we are clear that working together can lead to more progress, more quickly. And the results bear that out.”
During his speech, Angus also reflected on the UKGC’s challenge to the industry to work with the technology sector more and the Commissioner’s Office on the development of the Single Customer View.
He noted that the UKGC has been working with the Betting and Gaming Council on SCV development and the first phase of GamProtect, its multi-operator risk-sharing solution, will soon be trialled.
This is part of the commission’s three key principles: putting people first, doing the right thing, and regulation that works for all.
As is evidence-based research the UKGC conducts, including its recently updated study on the development of a new methodology for its Participation and Prevalence statistics.
“Better data, better research and better evidence will lead to better regulation and better outcomes for consumers, industry and everyone else involved in gambling,” Angus said.
The commission will also work with international regulators as part of its current remit to learn from other regions for best practices.
Angus commented: “Where strong relationships already exist between regulators, we are increasingly seeing the bad practice and bad behaviour of some licensed and unlicensed operators being shared and discussed.
“And that helps us look at those operators’ practices and operations in our own jurisdictions. To be clear: No operator should want to be in this position. No operator should want to be the subject of discussion between regulators in different parts of the world.”
The UKGC will continue to work with operators as well, but Angus emphasised that compliance must be a priority.
“We want to continue by working with gambling operators, as well as others, to make more progress more quickly. But compliance is the first step. Where operators continue to fail in their obligations, we will continue to take uncompromising action.”