All Party Parliamentary Group says NAO report confirms GC “is not fit for purpose”

The All Party Parliamentary Group has released a statement following the National Audit Office report on the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has said that today’s National Audit Office (NAO) report on the Gambling Commission confirms that the regulator is not able to fulfil its responsibilities.

In a statement, the APPG said: “Today the National Audit Office has effectively said that the Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose.”

The NAO report

Today, the National Audit Office released a report that highlighted several shortcomings within the Gambling Commission’s consumers protection strategy, specifically that it lacks focus and that its difficult for the regulator to measure progress towards its goals.

The NAO also stated that the regulator lacked the necessary data to make effective policy decisions and is too slow to react to the ever-changing and evolving gambling industry. The NAO report suggested that input is required from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The report said that the Commission should look to establish a deeper understanding of gambling harms and how technological and social developments have affected these habits.

What the APPG says

“This is a major intervention by the Government’s own auditor and organisation which holds the Government to account,” said the APPG. “Individuals at the Gambling Commission should be held accountable for this failing and urgent action must be taken by the Commission to raise standards across the industry, particularly online.”

The NAO noted that even if the Commission makes improvements “it is unlikely to be fully effective in regulating a challenging and fast-changing industry within the current system”. “This is unacceptable,” said the APPG.

“We cannot wait years for new Gambling legislation to be introduced. The Government must immediately bring forward legislation to ensure the ever-growing gambling market it being properly regulated, consumers are protected and an Ombudsman is established. A failure to do this would be an abdication of the Government’s responsibility.”

The APPG is currently pushing for a regulatory overhaul of the British gambling regulations in order to ensure consumers are protected from gambling-related harms.

Responsible gambling in the UK

Following the increased negative coverage of the UK gambling Industry and the rise of problem gambling, the Gambling Commission has outlined several new initiatives to help combat the issue.

In January, the UK regulator announced new responsible gambling initiative where it will work with four gambling companies to create three working groups to help make gambling safer. The three working groups will be led by senior leaders in the industry and will focus on game and product design, high-value customer incentives to gamble and advertising technology.

The Commission has also implemented a ban on using credit cards to gamble and the new law will come into force from 14th April 2020, applying to both on and offline products. From 31 March, operators will also be required to participate in the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Neil McArthur recently spoke at the CMS Gambling Conference 2020 where he said that the industry needs to work together to help crackdown on gambling-related harms.

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