The UKGC Seeks Public Input on Its Policies and Procedures

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) launched a consultation today, asking for input on its licensing and compliance policies. The consultation will remain open until February 9.

The UKGC is seeking feedback in order to assess its principles and ensure transparency for licensed operators, as well as wider stakeholders. The commission is essentially looking for opinions on whether its policies are transparent and current.

However, while the agency routinely reaches out for input, this latest initiative is likely tied to increased scrutiny. The UKGC is the target of the All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group (APPBGG). The committee has questioned whether it is capable of maintaining its authority.

The UK gambling policies on licensing, compliance, and enforcement were last updated in 2017. In order to update its existing framework, the commission has identified four areas for which it needs guidance.

Policy Change Before Legislation

Importantly, the consultation solicits feedback on the commission’s position on “products which appear to require dual regulation.” This is a concern that regulators have been grappling with after the widespread criticism of Football Index’s licensing application.

Our preferred outcome is that this is resolved through legislative change, but it is unlikely to happen before the Gambling Act is concluded. In the absence of change, we propose that we should set out a clear policy position on how we intend to deal with these products,” states the UKGC’s announcement about the consultation.

Proposed changes in licensing enforcement will be integrated into the new approach of the commission.

UKGC Under Scrutiny

After a number of businesses reported on the UKGC’s failures, the APBGG opened an inquiry in September. Some of the issues uncovered were not communicated to legislative bodies as required. The inquiry was supposed to be completed by the end of the month, but the overwhelming response forced the APBGG to extend the deadline to December 1.

The APBGG will submit its evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This evidence includes the failure of the UKGC to monitor the decline of the Football Index. That debacle led to the former head of the UKGC, Neil McArthur, resigning his position.

All licensed gambling companies have been notified by the APBGG to step forward. The group wants to know all instances in which the UKGC has violated its regulatory authority and its code of conduct.

The APBGG is particularly interested in examples of instances in which the commission provided poor service. This could put its competence in executing regulations in question. The report will be sent to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) once it is completed. This British government agency oversees British regulation of the industry.

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