Gambling Commission unveils new three-year strategy

The Gambling Commission has announced a three-year plan for the period 2018-21 containing five new strategic priorities to try to make gambling fairer and safer.

Gambling Commission strategic priorities

The five new strategic priorities of the Gambling Commission’s new plan. © Gambling Commission.

The strategy was unveiled with a presentation at a Citizens Advice conference in Manchester.

There are five key areas of the new strategy. They are; to protect the interests of consumers, prevent harm to consumers and the public, raise standards in the gambling market, optimise returns to good causes from lotteries, and to improve the way the Commission itself operates.

Towards protecting consumers, the regulator has warned that it will be much tougher with sanctions on those operators that are not ensuring the safety of their customers and treating them fairly.

Evidence of this exists already. In fact, the Commission has already issued eight penalties to operators for significant failures since 2015, equating to a total of £16m. Last week, Ladbrokes Coral were fined £2.3m by the watchdog for serious failings in customer protection.

“The strategy presents a vision for the kind of gambling market we want to see: one that is fairer and safer for consumers”.

A new approach to regulating the industry

The report highlights the positive impact gambling can have, such as takings from the National Lottery being a significant contributor to charitable causes. It also demonstrates how the growth of gambling markets, technologies and products are driving consumer choice.

However, key to the Commission’s strategy is balancing these with the potential risks gambling can pose to individuals and society when abused. The report is also quick to highlight how public trust in gambling is declining, while the rates of problem gambling in the UK are not declining. In fact, the report claims that 35% of people find gambling fair and trustworthy, which is a sharp drop from 49% in 2008.

Interestingly, the watchdog has made it a priority to improve the way they regulate the industry. Towards this goal, the Commission states it will place a greater emphasis on the collection and application of data, adapt its approach to regulating by using an evidence and risk-based approach, and evaluate the work it does on a consistent basis. The watchdog will also better engage operators, consumers and partners, as well as intervening when necessary with both operators and individuals.

The strategy has since been posted online for all to read.

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