The All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group has completed its investigation of the Gambling Commission’s competence and effectiveness.
The Party stated: “Motivated by the anecdotal evidence the group had heard from operators about the Commission’s alleged poor performance, conscious of their concerns that there was no way to complain about it apart from via the Commission itself and mindful that there was palpable fear that if operators complained, the Commission would respond with arbitrary punishment, the Group invited submissions via their website and promised anonymity. Based on the stories we had heard the complaints were to be categorised into Ultra Vires, where the Commission has acted beyond their powers, alleged breaches of the Regulators Code and examples of incompetence and ineffectiveness.
”We received a significant number of submissions and would like to express our gratitude to those operators and advisers brave enough to do so. As can be seen in the report, the results of the investigation are condemning of the Commission. We have numerous examples where the Commission is clearly over stepping its powers and conducting itself in a way that no regulator should or as was intended when the Commission was created by the Gambling Act 2005. The Commission has allegedly committed multiple breaches of almost all the sections of the Regulator’s Code and to add insult to injury, appears to be offering the British gambling industry, an incredibly poor level of service often combined with incompetence and a basic lack of knowledge of the industry it regulates,” it added.
“From the evidence we have seen, we believe that the Gambling Commission has become imbibed with an overtly anti-gambling ideology and is actively seeking to ‘get the industry’. From the evidence we have seen, we believe that the Gambling Commission has turned into what appears to be an industry-funded anti-gambling activist group,” it said. “We believe the regulator has gone ‘rogue’ and this anti-gambling culture comes from the top and permeates down and is even a reason for recruiting staff.”
“We also believe that unless the Gambling Commission grasps the opportunity of having a new Chair and CEO and resetting its strategy, focus and culture, if left unchecked, the Commission will destroy one of the most reputable gambling industry’s in the world and will force tens of thousands of people, some extremely vulnerable, into the illegal black market where they will get no protection from criminality or problem gambling,” the party concluded.
We urge the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Better Regulation Executive to pay attention to this report, digest the numerous examples of bad practice, consider our six recommendations, and intervene to transform this regulator into the competent and effective regulator that the British gambling industry and the public deserve. We all simply want a competent and effective regulator, which we do not have at the moment.