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What is the secret to success in white papers? Industry pulling its weight

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Discussions on the gambling market in Great Britain have never been more heated as we approach the first anniversary of the white paper on the Gambling Act. Tim Miller, Executive Director of the GB Gambling Commission says that success lies in a symbiotic partnership between the Commission’s and industry.

The white paper makes it seem like the industry is well-versed in the proposals. The 260 page government document is quite detailed. Where it was lacking in details, the document made up with proposals that few people saw coming. For example, the nomination of a gaming ombudsman. This kept the discussion ablaze.

The Commission must do a great deal of work in order to fulfill its part of the agreement. Miller says that in order to deliver the whitepaper successfully, industry must also be ready to work hard.

Miller says that the cOMMISSION is well aware of the role it plays in delivering a white paper, but industry needs to step up.

He explains that “the white paper will require the industry to do a lot of work.” We talk about the Gambling Commission’s massive list, but the industry has a huge amount to do as well.

The Commission, he says, has done everything possible to ensure a smooth and transparent process. It is “very honest” in what it expects from the industry. He says that this has paid off.

We try to communicate timetables early and now it feels like everyone is working in the same direction. Everyone seems focused on meeting what the government has set.

Checks on affordability and beyond

No amount of clarity or preparation can prevent the inevitable criticisms of a comprehensive review. Before the consultations on the whitepaper began in July last year, there were already rumblings about its controversial element – affordability tests, or financial risk checks.

The white paper implementation process is not just about the topics of consultation.

Miller explains that “outside the responses to formal consultations, we have had some really great conversations with stakeholders and industry.” We’ve also commissioned more research to better understand the views and opinions of consumers. “I think that we are in a good position on the consultations but there is still a lot of work ahead.”

Miller said that the Commission has been “really satisfied” so far with the level of engagement from the stakeholders. When will the proposals see light, now that the regulator is knee deep in its second round of consultations?

Miller says that the piloting phase will be in place soon, but only after a thorough review.

We’ll get more details in the coming weeks about the steps to take on many of these [consultation] topics, especially around financial risk checking, and we will be piloting them to understand exactly what works and what does not.

The white paper outlined that the Commission would get additional powers to tackle the black market threat

A powerful black market menace

The black market in Great Britain will continue to hum whether there is a white paper or not. Miller argues that the role of the Commission in fighting black markets is complicated, but boils down to just three aspects.

Miller says, “The first step is to use our current powers and approaches.” We continue to send cease-and-desist letters when we find illegal websites, and this has had success.

Second, a Commission specific white paper will be released that promises additional powers for the Commission to close down illegal gambling.

Miller continues, “The whitepaper gave us a very clear promise that we’d be granted additional powers so as to try to close down illegal sites through internet service providers.”

We were very pleased to see that the provisions of those laws had been included in the legislation already being passed through Parliament. In the near future, we hope to be able get these additional powers that will enhance what we are able do.

The third strand is the most important. Miller explains that the Commission is working with European and North American regulators to focus on black markets. As part of an effort to eliminate illegal gambling websites from every angle, the Commission has been working with several of the largest technology firms in order to bring them together.

We’ve been working with Google and Facebook in order to reduce the visibility and reach of illegal sites, and to ensure they are not displayed on people’s news feeds or anything like that.

Raising standards

The work of the Commission with international regulators only enhances this. When we are trying to engage those large technology companies with a huge international presence, working with other regulators enhances our voice.

Miller maintains, specifically for Europe, that the regulators in the continent have a good working relationship, which has been aided through the focusing on the threat of the black market.

When I speak to European colleagues about the black market, they all have the same emphasis. This more coordinated, collaborative approach will pay off because it’s one area where we are more likely to collaborate.

It is possible to unite the markets by having a common enemy.

Miller continues: “In other areas, such as safer gambling, there will be naturally different approaches from different countries.” Miller continues: “When it comes to a black market for illegal gambling, we feel pretty united.”

The year ahead is a mountainous one

The Commission is in for a busy year. Miller claims that the white book – with its numerous proposals – is going to be a vehicle for change in 2024.

The pace at which the UK delivers the white papers will increase. This is likely to be the primary vehicle where consumers in the UK are continuously protected.

engaging with European and North American regulators helps to strengthen the Commission’s fight against the black market, says Miller

Miller reiterates a statement he made days after the release of the whitepaper.

Miller wants the industry to remember that they are not forgotten in all the talk of the whitepaper.

Miller concluded, “We remind gaming companies constantly that the whitepaper is an enormous piece of work but it can sometimes be distracting.” They shouldn’t forget the regulatory obligations that they have.

We continue to demand that they meet our expectations in terms of regulatory compliance and follow our rules. We will take further action if they do not. I believe that this is what continues to raise standards within the industry.

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