The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) sent a communication to stakeholders Monday afternoon telling them that Neil McArthur, the regulator’s Chief Executive, had resigned.
McArthur has decided to leave the Commission after a 15-year career with the organisation, starting as a legal counsel in 2006 and rising through the ranks to become Chief Executive in 2018, succeeding Sarah Harrison (MBE).
Programmes for reducing gambling related harms
During his time as CEO, McArthur oversaw the introduction of a number of programmes, all of which were aimed at reducing gambling-related harms.
The prohibition of credit cards as a payment option on betting websites, improved age verification tests, and, most recently, new standards to create protections in the nature of online goods were all enforced under his administration.
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.”
Lived Experience Advisory Panel
McArthur was also instrumental in the formation of the UKGC’s Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which gives people whose lives have been affected by problem gambling a stronger voice in the development of UK gambling policies.
Finally, the outgoing executive controlled the UKGC’s activities during two significant phases of change: the betting industry’s transformation to cope with an increasingly digitised economy, and the financial and operational difficulties raised by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bill Moyes, Chairman of the UKGC, who will also be vacating his position later this year, added: “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.”
Despite several regulatory wins, McArthur’s leadership split political opinion, with high-profile MPs criticising the Commission’s intimate association with licenced operators.
McArthur will support the UKGC’s “collaborative frameworks” in governing UK gambling while maintaining the industry’s economic interests and social obligations.
The government’s generational analysis of the 2005 Gambling Act has centred on the Commission’s procedures and framework, which will now be headed by current DCMS undersecretary John Whittingdale, who has yet to make a comment on McArthur’s resignation.
Now that he is stepping down, the UKGC will begin the process of finding a temporary replacement, giving Moyes’ successor time to select a new Chief Executive. As recruiting efforts get underway, Sarah Gardner, Deputy Chief Executive, and Sally Jones, Chief Operating Officer, will serve as Acting Chief Executives.