Last week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), published its annual Compliance and Enforcement report which focuses on the regulatory actions that were taken throughout the year and the results of their casework against license holders.
The GambleAware conference also took place last week, with the UKGC’s chief executive Andrew Rhodes giving a speech on preventing gambling harm. In addition to that, last week, GambleAware granted £300,000 for a new study on gambling harms among minorities in the UK.
UKGC’s Casework Results in Suspended and Revoked Licenses in 2021
Last week, the UKGC published an annual Compliance and Enforcement report that covers the action the regulator has taken during the financial year 2020 – 2021. During the last year, a total of five operators had their licenses suspended by the UKGC. Meanwhile, one operator had their license revoked, with the same action also being taken against nine personal management licenses holders.
According to the report, during the last year, the UKGC also imposed fines and regulatory settlements on a total of 15 gambling companies, with their total sum amounting to £32.1 million. This was a record high amount, beating the fines collected through any of the previous years.
While Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of UKGC, expressed his contentment in the hard work of the regulatory body, he was also disappointed that such vigorous measures were required to be taken. He noted that based on the results of the report, it could be concluded that almost every case of license suspension or revocation was enforced due to the same two types of failings. Almost all of the operators who had their licenses revoked or suspended failed to meet the Commission’s requirements for social responsibility and anti-money laundering policies.
Mr Rhodes also noted that the reasons why operators would allow such failures were very concerning. The Commission’s casework revealed that operators fail to provide enough suitable resources to avoid gambling harm or they simply care less about their responsibilities and more about their commercial goals.
The devastating impact of the global pandemic on the gambling industry was acknowledged by Mr Rhodes, with him ensuring that the Commission had to take difficult decisions to make sure job positions and livelihoods were protected. That said, he noted that the gambling sector has slowly resumed its usual operations. Mr Rhodes noted that the regulatory body still finds many failings in the operations of gambling operators and it is the gambling industry that has the right resources and power to change that.
Expanding Gambling Industry Needs Better Regulations, GambleAware Supports Study on Gambling Harm Among Minorities
In a speech at the 2021 GambleAware Conference, Andrew Rhodes addressed the important issue of increasing gambling-related harm and the measures that can be taken to prevent it. Mr Rhodes stated that while the Gambling Commission’s work is to permit gambling operations on the territory of the UK, it also has plenty of regulatory responsibilities when it comes to the protection of vulnerable individuals. He noted that a large number of cases of gambling harms came as a result of gambling operators not being compliant with the UKGC’s rules.
Mr Rhodes reported that since 2017/2018, the Gambling Commission has increased the number of regulatory actions taken against operators that do not comply with the regulatory requirements. For that period, the Commission has restored more than £100 million which were collected through fines and penalties. Meanwhile, a total of 10 operators had their licenses revoked and others surrendered their licenses before the regulatory body has finished their investigations.
According to Mr Rhodes, the UKGC supports the efforts of other companies and organisations that combat gambling-related harms among the UK community. What is more, the regulatory body actively participates in ensuring better protection for vulnerable individuals. As the gambling sector in the country is growing immensely, the need for better regulation in the industry and raising awareness among gamblers in the UK is also increasing.
Last week, it was also announced that GambleAware will support a new study on gambling-related harms among minorities in the UK. As this is an extremely under-researched area, the charity organisation issued a £300,000 grant to the consortia that will carry out the new study. The research will last about 18 months, with the final results scheduled to be published in 2023. That said, interim results are expected to be published sooner, giving a better understanding of the potential harms among minority communities.
The minorities that will participate in the study can be based on the language they share, their religion, or ethnicity. While there is not enough data on this issue, there has been evidence of minorities in the UK being more likely to be exposed to gambling-related harms. That said, those same minority groups are less likely to find the proper sources of help to combat such problems. This is why the new study is due to determine drivers of gambling-related harms among minorities and find the proper tools to prevent such issues.