The Gambling Commission’s competence is under investigation

The Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group (APBGG) has announced the launch of an investigation into the competence and effectiveness of the Gambling Commission.

This comes as the UK government is in the process of reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act.

Investigation into Commission’s competence

Announced yesterday, the APBGG has revealed that it has launched an investigation into the competence of the UK gambling industry regulator.

According to the announcement, the investigation comes as a response to claims that operators are “too scared” to publicly voice concerns regarding the regulator as well as criticisms of the Commission from industry stakeholders.

The APBGG said that criticism of the regulator from the Public Accounts Committee, National Audit Office and House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry in 2020, did not cover the full breadth of the allegations that they have heard made against it. 

The APBGG’s co-chair, Scott Benton MP, said: “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 Commission. They have been too scared to go public with their concerns, some even about the very legality of the Commission’s undertakings, due to the Commission’s power over them.

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

The complaints made to the APBGG range from those questioning the regulator’s ability to function properly, instances where the Commission has overstepped the powers of a regulator, or examples where the Commission is seen to have acted outside of the Regulator’s code.

The group has set a deadline of 31 October 2021 for complaints against the regulator.

If the investigation warrants a report, the APBGG said it will present its findings to the Gambling Act review, while also inviting the Commission’s CEO to respond to an industry audience.

The APBGG will also present findings to whichever minister in BEIS holds responsibility for the oversight of industry regulators. Findings will also be published on the APBGG website to ensure people can access the report.

What is the APBGG?

The APBGG was created by a group of parliamentarians who had taken part in debates on what became the 2005 Gambling Act. These individuals wanted to continue to discuss the British gambling sector.

Members of the group are some of the main contributors during any gambling debate in either of the Houses.

Members of the group believe that gambling should be legal and well regulated, however, the group contains members with a wide range of views as to the extent and scope of gambling regulation in the UK.

More drama for the Commission

Following the collapse of Football Index earlier this year, the UK Gambling Commission has come under scrutiny from industry groups and politicians.

Days after the Football Index scandal, Neil McArthur stepped down as chief executive of the regulator.

In June, the Commission brought in Andrew Rhodes, who previously worked for the Department of Work and Pensions and DVLA, as an interim chief executive on an 18-month contract.

Earlier this month, Marcus Boyle was appointed as new Gambling Commission chair, replacing Bill Moyes