Neil McArthur to Step Down as Regulator’s CEO

At a vital time for the gambling industry, Neil McArthur is to Step Down as Gambling Commission Chief Executive. McArthur leaves the regulator after fifteen years, and the UKGC will start the recruitment process for an interim CEO shortly.

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The Gambling Commission is looking for a new chief executive after Neil McArthur announced he is stepping away from the role. McArthur first joined the regulator in October 2006 and spent most of his time at the commission as general counsel, a role which he held for 12 years. He became chief executive in February 2018, replacing Sarah Harrison.

McArthur’s decision to leave the role makes him the second high-profile employee that is leaving the regulator. Bill Moyes has already announced he is stepping down as chairman, leaving the regulator with vacancies in the top two positions at a vital time for regulation. A review of the current gambling laws is taking place in the UK, and sweeping changes are expected once the review is complete.

In a statement on the Gambling Commission website, the commission pays tribute to McArthur’s time as chief executive. Describing a ‘significant period of change,’ they praise McArthur for overseeing strengthening of protections against gambling harms- through the banning of gambling on credit cards; through enhanced age verification checks; and new requirements to build in protections to the design of online products. Also highlighting the recent establishment of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which they state gives a voice to those impacted by gambling harm.

McArthur said of his departure:

“I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer, and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges.”

With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new Chief Executive to lead the Commission on the next stage in its journey. Neil McArthur, Outgoing UKGC CEO.

The Chairman of the Gambling Commission, Bill Moyes, added:

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission. A lot has been achieved during his time here, and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as Chief Executive.”

While the Gambling Commission will point to the measures it has brought in, such as the ban on credit card gambling and the tightening of licencing, many claim the current system is outdated and broken.

The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which was set up to investigate gambling-related harm, said the UKGC was ‘unfit for purpose’ and called for the regulator’s complete scrapping. In a report, the APPG accused the regulator of being slow to react to the gambling industry’s evolution. It has also faced criticism because of how it is funded, with voluntary contributions from operators forming a part of maintaining the regulator. Critics want to introduce a betting tax to fund regulation and schemes to reduce gambling-related harm.

The commission has confirmed that although they are now actively seeking an interim CEO’s appointment to replace McArthur in the short term, they will not be looking to appoint a permanent replacement until they have a new chairperson in place.

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