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Gambling Commission pledges targeted investment in new corporate strategy

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Great Britain’s Gambling Commission has committed to “targeted investment” in priority areas to support its core goals over the next four years, with a successful National Lottery among its key aims.

Published today (8 April), the gambling regulator’s new corporate strategy sets out priorities for the period from 2024 to 2027. The Commission has identified areas for improvement and will put in place actions to bolster its operations.

Setting out the strategy, the Commission highlights two broad areas. One covers delivering on decisions taken to bring about significant and lasting change to how gambling is provided. This also covers how the National Lottery is operated. 

In addition, the second area will cover how the regulator invests. This will see it look to improve in how it delivers work towards “players, the public and licensees”.

Commission to address white paper proposals

The first heading mainly related to the government’s white paper. Published last April, this set out a host of recommendations to modernise the way gambling is regulated in the UK. 

Among the key points from this document were new affordability checks, stricter stake limits and possible new advertising rules. While some steps have been announced, such as the new online slots deposit limit, others are yet to be finalised. The Commission said it will work with the government and industry members to “strike the right balance”.

Also under the first heading is delivering a successful National Lottery. In February, Allwyn took control of Britain’s National Lottery, marking the first licensee change since the game launched in the mid-1990s. The Commission said that it will support Allwyn in ensuring a successful future for the lottery.

Ensuring gambling is fairer and safer

As for investment, again some of this relates to changes proposed in the white paper. The Commission said targeted investment in priority areas means it can continue to regulate effectively in the future. 

“That investment will be in our approaches, our systems, the evidence we rely on and, most importantly, our people,” the Commission said. “In this way we can ensure our regulation continues to reflect developments in the gambling industry with the ultimate aim to provide the best outcomes for consumers and the public.”

The regulator has identified where it can make improvements to licensing, compliance and enforcement work. This, it adds, will ensure it is as effective and efficient as possible. It will also consider a positive, longer-term direction for regulation as approaches to regulatory risk mature.

“We intend to look at opportunities that exist for new regulatory approaches to build on the work outlined within this strategy, such as earned recognition and we will be testing and learning what works and what does not,” the Commission said.

“All these actions will ensure that we improve the way we work to ensure gambling is fairer, safer and crime free for the benefit of consumers and the wider public.”

Five areas of strategic focus

The Commission says regulatory work remains core, but will commit resources to five key areas of strategic focus. These, it says, will allow for improvements to regulation that have the biggest impact on consumers the public and licensees.

The five focus areas comprise: using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective; enhancing core operational functions; setting clear evidence-based requirements for licensees; being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity; and regulating a successful National Lottery.

“We have identified these areas based on our understanding of the gambling industry and developments since 2021, including the award of the fourth National Lottery licence and the commitments in the government’s white paper, High Stakes – Gambling Reform for the Digital Age,” the Commission said.

“They also reflect our experience of regulating including evidence from casework, consumer engagement, research, data and input from stakeholders including our advisory groups.”

What is the Commission hoping for?

Summarising its objectives and duties, the Commission said its ongoing goal is for a “fair, safe and crime free gambling market where consumers and the interests of the wider public are protected”.

In terms of protecting from harm or exploitation, work includes ensuring underage players cannot access age-restricted products. It will also seek to protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm by effective regulatory requirements and compliant licensees.

As for fair gambling, the Commission commits to ensuring licensees are fair and deliver what they promise. It also said players should be able to make informed choices about gambling and that licensees facilitate this. 

Going further, the Commission aims to prevent crime by making it difficult to provide illegal gambling to British players. Also on this point, the regulator will work to ensure licensed gambling poses a low risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. 

Finally, in reference to the National Lottery licence, the Commission commits to ensuring the lottery is run in a “fit and proper manner”. This will include protecting all participants and maximising returns to good causes.

“This strategy will improve gambling regulation and move us closer to that vision” the regulator said. “These outcomes reflect our vision, regulatory role and remit. All of our work is ultimately aimed at helping deliver these headline regulatory outcomes. 

“We will demonstrate our progress in delivering them by measuring and publishing impact metrics associated with each outcome.”

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