Tim Miller: Fairness and affordability will lead UKGC’s new corporate strategy

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Tim Miller, the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) Executive Director in charge of research and strategy formation, has outlined the regulator’s key priorities. It will drive its current “Corporate Strategy.”

Miller, the first UKGC executive to speak since the sudden exit of chief executive Neil McArthur earlier this month. He briefed industry executives and other business stakeholders at the CMS Law Gambling Conference.

The Commission’s corporate strategy is recognized as the regulator’s strategic approach to regulating the commercial interests of the industry. And also maintaining consumer security and rights for the betterment of society.

Launched in 2018, the Commission adopted its corporate strategy. It was to react to consumer shifts brought about by the digitization of gambling and the sector’s make-up dramatically altered by mass M&A.

Throughout the three-year term, Miller emphasized that the Commission was motivated by its National Strategic Assessment’s urgent mandate to make “gambling fairer and safer.”

As a result, the UKGC’s policy formulation was based on strengthening enforcement, regulatory interventions, professional standards, and removing “opaque terms and conditions.”

Miller claimed that the Commission had to continuously examine an “evolving image” in which the regulator was forced to prioritize its acts when it came to its business policy directives.

Following a study of policy changes and regulatory factors in the UK gambling industry, the UKGC will prioritize the following goals in implementing its new corporate strategy:

1. Keeping children and older people away from the risks of gambling

2. Creating a more equitable marketplace

3. Keeping crime out of the gambling industry

4. Increasing National Lottery returns to good causes.

5. Improving gambling law and educating customers

In support of its new strategy, the UKGC announced that it would soon release a “Business Plan”. It would contain details of “the core milestones we plan to complete and resolve during 2021-22.”

Miller, who leads the Commission’s research and policy divisions, noted many responses to the UKGC’s consultation on consumer safeguards, with stakeholders eager to hear where the Commission plans to go next on customer experiences.

He responded that the Commission’s immediate priority would be to improve the enforcement rules governing operators performing customer affordability due-diligence duties.

In terms of affordability, the UKGC found “example after example of operators who have allowed people to gamble sums that are unaffordable with very little or no customer contact until a very late stage.”

“We are not addressing grey areas here. “We’re talking about absolutely unaffordable levels of gambling,” Miller pointed out.

“It should come as no surprise that our business strategy includes work addressing the possibility of harm from gambling”. Indeed, such concerns have rightly dominated the debate about gambling legislation in recent years. We offer no apologies for bringing this to the notice of the industry.

Miller stressed that the Commission would maintain its collaborative approach with licensed operators. It will be to address black market risks and improve the industry’s overall AML protections.

He noted that operator input was required on how the industry would be reshaped. Taking into account the situation past pandemic, echoing the industry’s “evolving image” dynamics.

“We will not move at the slowest pace. We are not letting up on the accelerator because of any good data. The longer-term policy debate will not divert our attention away from the immediate challenges and risks. We will sustain our momentum.” Miller concluded.

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Nassima Azmzm

Nassima Azmzm

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