UK Gambling Commission, struggling to protect gamblers

NAO (National Audit Office) has concluded that UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is having problems to protect gamblers

The National Audit Office, responsible for auditing public bodies, has determined that UK Gambling Commission is “unlikely to be fully effective in addressing risks and harms to consumers”.

Gambling addiction is an issue in the United Kingdom. Currently there are 395.000 problem gamblers, plus 1.8 other million people that can be considered to be at risk.

Even though UKGC has already declared its intentions of lowering these numbers, NAO said that they haven’t explained their plans yet on how to do so or their progress. The NAO declared: “Regulators need clear, measurable objectives so their teams and the external stakeholders they work with have a common understanding of what they are aiming to achieve and can judge progress”

The Commission has translated its statutory objectives and overall aim to make gambling safer into strategic priorities, business plan activities and high‐level outcomes it wants to achieve. However, it has not yet developed these high‐level outcomes into detailed, measurable success criteria against which to judge progress”

In the report, UKGC’s ability to manage the dangers of an industry as big as gambling was questioned. During the last years it has fined different operators for a total of over £19 million but that hasn’t been enough. The NAO has said that it wasn’t even clear if these settlements have helped.

This industry is worth over £11-billion (a £4-billion growth in the last 10 years) and is in constant change, and the Commission’s attempts to tackle the problems that come with it haven’t been enough so far. UKGC has been advised to better define how they pretend to help customers in a measurable way. The Commission has also been asked by the NAO to develop a better strategy that makes operators raise their standards.

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