UKGC: Out of the EU but not out of Europe

Betting Business - Gambling Commission Sarah Harrison EU
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CEO of the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison, hints at the future of UK regulation outside of the EU, and urges the industry to keep improving trust in its consumers.


Changes are afoot in UK gaming. With Brexit now looming, questions arise as to how separation from the supra-state will affect cross-border cooperation with other regulators, particularly in areas of money laundering and the funding of terrorism. And as the industry continues to expand, keeping up with technology while ensuring consumers feel protected is paramount to this continued success. Speaking at ICE last month, Sarah Harrison, CEO of Gambling Commission explained the regulator’s outlook for 2017, and in particular the roadmap currently unfolding for the domestic business.

“The biggest change for the Gambling Commission will be navigating the ever changing gambling landscape,” Harrison explains. “We will also look at public policy and market developments – costs, consolidations and mergers” – as well the developing understanding of problem gambling.

“And we will continue to uphold the government’s pledge to step in and ‘fix’ broken markets that aren’t working for the consumer.”

To meet these challenges the Commission will be developing a three-year corporate strategy: “Investing in our people, our skills and our culture,” including providing advice to the government in terms of its gambling review, and a “focus on the National Lottery and the lottery market and a review of the online market.”

“The biggest priorities are building trust and confidence both in the industry and in the Commission,” she adds. “We will do this through improving our understanding further of consumer behaviour. Part of our drive is to put consumers at the heart of our work, industry also needs to put consumers at the heart of its work.”

Building on Harrison’s “consumer first” maxim, the Commission will be taking renewed interested in player experience – not just by “pushing” information out to consumers, but finding ways to hear “directly from them,” she says, “all options will be explored.”

“But we expect higher commitment from operators too. We want to see operators showing a higher degree of respect towards consumers […] as we believe that socially responsible organisations will, in the long-run, be the more successful businesses.”

In terms of Brexit, Harrison plays down the new degree of separation.

“To quote the government, out of the EU doesn’t mean out of Europe,” Harrison says. “There will still be the need for regulators – whether Europe-based or international – to share information and talk to each other, to share best practice. Partnership with other regulators has never been more important.”

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