The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its first National Strategic Assessment, which aims to identify gambling-related risks for the public.

Numerous measures the commission has conducted over the last financial year are outlined, including 11 gambling licences being revoked.

In addition to its National Strategic Assessment, the UKGC simultaneously released its annual Compliance and Enforcement Report.

UKGC expects to work closely with the government for Gambling Act review

The 2005 Gambling Act should be reviewed soon, with the European Business Review reporting last month that the government will publish the updated legislation in 2021.

UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur expects the Gambling Commission to play an essential role in helping politicians determine where change is needed.

He said: “We will use our National Strategic Assessment as the foundation for prioritising our work over the coming months and years.

“We look forward to working with the government on the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act, and alongside that work, we will be working hard to address the issues that we have identified in our Strategic Assessment.

“We have demonstrated that we are willing and able to respond quickly to emerging issues and risks and that we will use the full range of our powers to protect consumers. We have made considerable progress in many areas to make gambling safer – but we want to go further and faster.”

A proactive 12 months 

Over the last financial year, the UKGC has:

  • Commenced reviews on 49 people with personal licences to operate gambling businesses;
  • Suspended five operator licences;
  • Revoked 11 operator licences;
  • Issued 12 financial penalty packages totalling £30 million+;
  • Undertaken 234 security audits and 33 website reviews;
  • Carried out 350 compliance assessments on land-based and online operators;
  • Dealt with 630 reports related to suspicious betting activity, misuse of inside information and sports rules breaches;
  • Produced over 3,000 intelligence reports.

McArthur had the following to say about the compliance report.

“Holding an operating licence or a personal licence is a privilege, not a right, and we expect our licensees to protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly.

“Our latest report shows that where licensees fail to meet the standards we expect, we will take tough action, including the suspension and revocation of licences. It also charts how we are shifting our focus towards personal management licence holders – those in boardrooms and senior positions need to live up to their responsibilities and we will continue to hold people to account for failings they knew, or ought to have known, about.

“Everyone has a part to play to make gambling safer, and learning the lessons from the failings identified in this report is one way of doing that.”