When Marcus Boyle, the new UK Gambling Commission Chairman, made his first public statement in an op-ed in the Times this week, he didn’t mince words. Boyle made it very clear that UK gambling officers will be facing additional scrutiny of their business practices, especially those that are used to identify problem gamblers, and they might not have to wait for the government to finish its review of the Gambling Act of 2005 to see major changes.
Among Boyle’s chief concerns is that operators are working in an environment where “persistently failing” operators can be fined over and over without losing their licenses or paying significant fines. “We will not tolerate an attitude of lowest possible compliance being sufficient,” he said.
“We expect our licence-holders to genuinely commit and learn from failings. Licences will be withdrawn where standards are not met, meaning that individuals could not hold senior positions in the industry. Licence-holders should aim for the highest standards.”
Operators will also be expected to up their algorithm game when it comes to spotting problem gamblers. They can also expect their own internal audit practices to be scrutinized and improved. Boyle says he will, “introduce a new mandatory, independent audit of standards and accreditation for those achieving the highest levels.”
But just because Boyle isn’t going to wait for the review of the Gambling Act of 2005 to be completed before he makes changes, doesn’t mean that the review won’t bring plenty of changes itself saying, “I welcome the Gambling Act review and believe that it will result in a legislative environment that meets the needs of this global industry and gives the commission the capacity to regulate it.”