Neil McArthur to step down as Gambling Commission chief executive

Today, the UK Gambling Commission announced that Neil McArthur is set to step down as the chief executive of the regulatory body.

The Commission’s deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones will jointly assume the role of acting chief executive while the regulator looks for McArthur’s replacement.

McArthur’s departure

McArthur joined the UK gambling regulator in 2006 and was appointed as interim chief executive after Sarah Harrison stepped down in 2017. In April 2017, McArthur was appointed as the full-time chief executive at the regulator.

Commenting on his departure McArthur said: “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.”

Chairman of the Gambling Commission Bill Moyes commented: “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.”

McArthur’s tenure at the Commission

During his tenure at the Commission, McArthur has overseen several changes to gambling regulation in the UK.

Some of the most notable changes saw the implementation of a ban on the use of credit cards to fund gambling activities.

McArthur also oversaw several changes to the design of online real-money slot games as well as the launch of the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Commission faces criticism

During McArthur’s tenure the Gambling Commission has come under criticism on several occasions. A report from the National Audit Office in 2020 argued that the Commission lacked the resources to do its job.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling also argued that the Commission was “not fit for purpose,” citing the report from the National Audit Office . 

Last week the Commission came under fire again after the football player exchange, Football Index, went into administration.

Earlier this month, Football Index made the decision to reduce the dividends paid for each player transaction. This led to a significant drop in asset value (player price) and the returns for customers.

This led to some users reportedly losing tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands of pounds. One bettor claimed to have lost £250,000 due to the company’s decision.

The Commission went onto suspend the operator’s licence last week following the news it had gone into administration.