Marcus Boyle, the Chairman of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has outlined that the country’s industry requires a tougher regulatory supervisor.
Making his first public address in the role via an op-ed in The Times, Boyle detailed that his initial focus had been on “identifying beneficial changes for both consumers and the industry”, in which the sector requires better regulation.
Appointed last September to replace Bill Moyes, whose tenure was marred by the fallout of the Football Index collapse, Boyle declared he would not stand still and wait for the government to conclude its White Paper review of recommendations to reform the sector.
Similarly to fellow leader Andrews Rhodes, CEO of the Commission, Boyle noted concerns about “persistently failing operators”.
Regulatory penalties totalling £130m over the past five years were deemed non-effective deterrents for re-offenders, as UKGC investigations had shown examples of operators being lackadaisical with regards to customer care duties.
Consequently, a tougher commission will move forward with ‘cumulative sanction packages’ that will not only increase financial penalties and include “fines being based on a percentage of customer takings, short or long-term suspensions and attaching significant conditions to licences”.
Boyle highlighted that enforcement would be focused on changing the behaviour of operators, which will require the full oversight of corporate governance and personal accountability of the management of gambling licences.
“We will not tolerate an attitude of lowest possible compliance being sufficient,” Boyle remarked.
“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 Licences will be withdrawn where standards are not met, meaning that individuals could not hold senior positions in the industry.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.”
Under the tighter controls, UKGC will work with ‘leading operators’ to study the safer gambling algorithms used to spot individuals at risk of harm and the operators’ resulting practices to protect those individuals.
Furthermore, the UKGC’s new Chair would like to ‘introduce a new mandatory, independent audit of standards and accreditation for those achieving the highest levels’.
Boyle outlined his support for UK gambling to be monitored using technology and deeper data, in which the Commission aims to establish its Single Customer View as a headline regulatory objective.