Neil McArthur has resigned from his position as Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). 

McArthur had been in the role for just over three years, and his resignation is with immediate effect. 

The Commission will begin its search for an interim replacement, with a more permanent decision to come later. 

“We have taken significant steps towards making gambling fairer and safer” 

McArthur had been at the UKGC since 2006. He took the Chief Executive role on a temporary basis in February 2018 after Sarah Harrison stepped down. Two months later, he secured the position on a permanent basis. 

Commenting on his departure, McArthur said:

“I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer, and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges. 

“With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new chief executive to lead the commission on the next stage in its journey.”

Temporary responsibilities to be shared 

For the time being, McArthur’s responsibilities will be shared. Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Gardner will carry out the Chief Executive’s duties alongside Sally Jones, who is Chief Operating Officer at the UKGC. 

Bill Moyes, the governing body’s Chairman, will begin looking for an interim Chief Executive in due course. The aim is for whoever replaces him in his position – he’s set to leave as Chairman later this year – to then bring in someone more permanent.

Moyes said the following with regards to the end of McArthur’s tenure: 

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission. 

“A lot has been achieved during his time here and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as chief executive.”

Testing times for the UKGC 

The UKGC has received criticism following Football Index’s demise last week. Football Index entered administration, with the UKGC suspending its remote operating licence. Critics have accused the Commission of failings when it comes to regulation. However, McArthur’s departure is not believed to be linked to Football Index’s difficulties. 

Gambling in the UK is also under the spotlight, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act. Numerous areas are up for discussion, including current market realities and whether or not enough is being done to protect players.