APBGG Launches Fresh Gambling Commission Inquiry

The All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group have launched a new inquiry into the UK Gambling Commission. Stakeholders will be able to submit their criticism of the regulator via an anonymous portal

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APBGG Launches Anonymous UKGC Portal © Pixabay.

The Gambling Commission’s ability to regulate the UK market will be examined by the All-Party Betting & Gaming Group (APBGG).

The parliamentary group, which comprises members of parliament from across the political spectrum, has often questioned the regulator’s effectiveness and launched a new inquiry into the Gambling Commission (UKGC).

In a letter dated Sunday this week and signed by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton, the group states that many in the industry feel there are “still many outstanding questions about the Gambling Commission’s approach and actions”. Therefore they feel that an investigation into the regulator is warranted.

To facilitate this inquiry, the APBGG has called for assistance from UK-licensed operators, inviting them to produce evidence that the UKGC is behaving unacceptably.

The APBGG had previously stated their belief that due to the regulator’s power, many within the industry would be “too scared” to criticise the UKGC. Therefore, the group reassured that all feedback received via the portal would be anonymous.

To enable any feedback to be fed into the ongoing review of the UK’s current gambling laws, the Gambling Act 2005, a closing date of 31 October, has been set for submissions. The APBGG will then present its findings to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the minister responsible for oversight of the regulator at that time.

The APBGG will also invite the CEO of the UKGC to attend an industry meeting to respond to the inquiry’s findings.

The current CEO of the regulator is Andrew Rhodes, who took on the role on an interim basis from Sarah Gardner, the then acting CEO of the Commission. Gardner replaced Neil McArthur last March after his sudden departure after the fall-out from the high profile collapse of Football Index.

The regulator was heavily criticised for failing to protect consumers when the company went into administration.

The APBGG co-chairman Benton said on the launch of the inquiry: “I believe it is essential that the key player in our industry is challenged over its actions.

“For a number of years, industry members have come to us and complained about the activities of the UKGC.

They have been too scared to go public with their concerns, some even about the very legality of the UKGC’s undertakings due to its power over them. Scott Benton, Blackpool South MP

“As they have no formal method of complaint apart from to the UKGC itself, we feel it is our duty to provide a conduit for legitimate criticism of the regulator,” Benton added.

In an introduction to the portal, the APBGG split their investigation into three main sections, inviting respondents to select their area of concern.

The first category relates to gathering evidence when the UKGC has acted Ultra Vires, which is beyond the powers expected of a regulator. Examples given include introducing affordability measures, a practice that has not existed in England since 1710.

The second category is asking for instances when the UKGC has acted in breach of the Regulators Code.

The third category that the APBGG want evidence on relates to instances of poor service/incompetence. With examples cited ranging from extreme time scales to receive a reply from the Gambling Commission to instances in which the Commission’s website is not fit for purpose with a non-functioning search mechanism and dead links prevalent throughout the site.

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