In the face of heightened public and political concern and criticism, Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy and the Gambling Commission, asserted that the regulator is “totally focused on making gambling safer, fairer and free of crime.
Miller made the remarks during a speech at the Westminster Media Conference titled “The National Strategic Assessment and path forward for ambling regulation,” in which he outlined the Commission’s business approach, how it reacts to evolving risks, and the path ahead.
Scrutinised and held to account
“As a statutory regulator, it is right that we are scrutinised and held to account on how we deliver the licencing objectives, and we know that different groups may have very different views about how our role should be performed,” Miller said, accepting the expanded attention on the industry and the gambling commission.
“In particular, we welcome greater interest from parliament in making gambling safer. Whether that interest is long held, came from concerns over FOBTs or is yet more recent, we welcome the diversity of interest and perspective that this greater scrutiny brings.”
Increased online gaming measures
Vowing to continue to “take action whilst the Gambling Act review continues” and advising that “no operator should get distracted from the task in hand,” Miller notes that its policy has contributed to the recent implementation of increased online gaming measures.
The UKGC last detailed a series of stringent steps that must be enforced by operators by October 31, 2021, to make “slots safer by design,” including outright bans on spin speeds above 2.5 seconds; auto play; and sounds or photos that offer the appearance of a win when the return is simply equal to, or below, a stake.
“Of course, we will follow the implementation of these rules with thorough evaluation but in short, these new rules are unprecedented in terms of player safety around the world,” he noted.
In addition, the group’s strategic plan and new organisational approach would be unveiled in the spring, and although Miller kept the specifics tight to his chest, it was announced that, “you can rest assured that the Commission will be maintaining its clear focus on making gambling safer, fairer and crime free”.
He concluded: “We are working hard to make Great Britain the safest place to gamble in the world and we need you all to work with us to achieve that outcome.
“We want to achieve this through collaboration. We recognise the unprecedented pressures on businesses and we know that some operators have been forced to make tough decisions to keep businesses and jobs viable in recent months.
Operators must raise their standards
“But we won’t hold back. Operators must raise their standards to meet ours. We want to do more to help things go right in the first place. But we will intervene when things go wrong.
“The last twelve months have undoubtedly been tough for all of us. But even through the turbulence of the pandemic, progress is being made in making gambling safer. The evidence is suggesting that we are on the right track. So let’s keep on going together.”