A committee formed by the House of Lords has received members of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). At issue is its defense of actions toward investigating the social and economic impact of the gambling industry.
On the hotseat were Neil McArthur, the chief executive of the UKGC, and Dr. Bill Moyes, the agency’s chairman.
They faced questions from Lord Garde of Yarmuth on how the gambling industry is run and monitored. At issue is the 2005 Gambling Act’s status.
The committee leader wanted to know if the law now sufficiently serves its purpose, especially in light of how the gambling industry has grown within the U.K.
As for Dr. Moyes, he agreed that the Gambling Act may be antiquated and has deficiencies.
“The legislation still meets its core objectives and will remain broadly relevant in making sure that gambling is safe and fair, vulnerable people are protected and at stopping crime getting a hold on gambling.”
McArthur described the agency as focused on maintaining consistency in how it operates and regulates the gambling industry. His concerns are harm and stopping crime. The industry must become safe and legal.
Furthermore, the point of consistency was raised. McArthur addressed the need to balance the consumer choice of an industry in which 24 million people gamble in the U.K., against the fact that gambling harm is a problem for a significant number of people, 340,000 according to our latest statistics with a further 5 million marked as vulnerable.
The media has been skeptical of how the UKGC has been governing the gambling industry. They cite specific instances of gambling problems and general criticism for being much more reactive rather than pro-active in their actions.
There is a need for proper governance of gambling operations. In his words, McArthur stated,
“The strategy has been a much tougher approach to compliance and enforcement. This was deliberate at changing the behavior of operators since we had seen too many instances of failures being repeated.”