DCMS Boss Confronts UKGC over the Regulator’s Transparency and Efficiency to Tackle Gambling-Related Harm

Daniel Williams

A recently held meeting saw the boss of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee violently confront the CEO of the UK regulatory body over claims of insufficient transparency and effectiveness of the watchdog.

The meetings took place late last week and involved a debate between Andrew Rhodes, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), and Julian Knight, the chair of the DCMS. At the time, the executive director of the UK gambling regulator, John Tanner, also took part in the discussion, which was held after the country’s High Court decided to lift the suspension of the procedure that will see the watchdog hand over the fourth 10-year operating licence for the National Lottery to its preferred company, Allwyn.

As Casino Guardian previously reported, the decision of UKGC to choose the Czech Republic’s gambling group as its preferred candidate to hold the new National Lottery licence caused controversy, which eventually resulted in a legal action filed against the UK Gambling Commission by the incumbent holder of the permit, Camelot UK.

In the light of the UKGC’s preferred candidate for the new operator of the National Lottery, the legal battle that was started by Camelot, its supplier International Game Technology (IGT), and Northern and Shell, was pretty much expected. Last week’s meeting took place after the UK High Court’s decision to allow the country’s gambling regulator to go further with the procedures of handing over the NL operating permit to Allwyn, but, unfortunately, the discussion grew to a fierce argument regarding the effectiveness of the gambling watchdog and the transparency of its procedures.

DCMS Chair Criticises the Gambling Regulator’s Voluntary Settlements with Certain Organisations

The chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport shared that the UK Gambling Commission has overseen voluntary settlements for about £40 million. He also questioned the efficiency of the aforementioned investment, as well as the information that was publicly released on the matter. The boss of the UK gambling watchdog, in his turn, revealed that the gambling regulator publishes all of the required information on its website. He further noted that regulatory settlements are beneficial for charities and research organisations that help and support people facing gambling-related harm.

The DCMS Committee’s boss argued that the announced details regarding the funds’ beneficiaries may be available but they are not enough because of the lack of availability of metrics on how a certain organisation was chosen to take advantage of the money. According to him, the lack of public metrics means that the UKGC is unable to confirm whether the aforementioned £40 million in settlements had been wisely used.

The UKGC boss further explained that the country’s gambling regulator provides only suitable organisations with regulatory settlements. He also shared that the UKGC must believe there is a good business case that would deliver benefit in order to grant such a settlement to a certain organisation.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez