A Review of the Just-Released Gambling Commission’s Annual Report
Every year, the Gambling Commission publishes a compliance and enforcement report. Contained in this report are the regulator’s findings from their casework on players in the gambling industry and what standards the regulator feel should be raised going forward.
Indeed, the number of online casinos continues to grow. Some of the most reputable among these are listed on Online Casino Today in the UK. This growth in the industry is in response to the growing demand as more and more people get into online gambling. The government agency has the mandate to ensure that each and every single one of these people who sign up for and enjoy some sessions on the various online casino platforms is well-protected. Indeed, the Gambling Commission has made it their business to ensure that all gambling operations and related activity is crime-free.
This post is a highlight of what the just released report contains as well as some projections for the future.
The Year in Review
According to the report, a total of five operator licenses were suspended this 2020-2021 financial year. One operator had their license revoked this past year. The commission meted out these actions following investigations into serval actions and inactions which were in violation of the standards and regulations expected of the license holders.
The main areas of concern, according to the commission is the failing of the providers on two main areas. The first area is the blatant flouting of the anti-money laundering rules set by the commission and other government agencies. Secondly, the operators lost their licenses on account of failing to adhere to the social responsibility rules and standards expected of industry players.
Again, the Gambling Commission enforced the paying of £32.1 million in fines this past year. This is, admittedly, the largest amount the commission has ever collected in previous years.
Why Is This The Case?
While the failings on the parts of operators are, of course, a concern, an equally important concern is the reason behind these failings. As per the commissions investigations, the operators found at-fault were found in violation of the requirements as they chose to put their commercial or business objectives ahead of the regulatory ones.
It is important for any business, and not just in the gambling industry, to realize that outside of earning revenue and making a profit, they have a legal and moral obligation to adhere to set standards and regulations. While the past few months have no doubt been hard for all businesses, trying hard to earn that profit is not good enough an excuse for non-compliance among operators. The operators must keep in mind that they have to go about seeking to make profit while complying with the standards set by the law.
Again, the Gambling Commission also found out that non-compliance among some operators was simply due to a lack of using the resources available to them. Why this is the case varies on a case to case basis. Some operators have not made the effort to familiarize themselves with the compliance requirements. Others who have, have simply not given the matter the weighty consideration it deserves and found themselves coming up short against the expected standards.
Strategy Going Ahead
Non-compliance is unacceptable and the Gambling Commission has made clear its commitment to enforcement.
Indeed, the general concession is that the industry and all relevant stakeholders have not only the knowledge, but also the skills and all the required resources to make a reality of strict compliance among all operators. This comes after a recent strategic review of the commission, with a view to restructure and develop the commission such that it is more than well equipped to take on the challenge that lies ahead in executing its mandate.
The Gambling Commission has highlighted the following key objectives in its plan for the next 3 years
– Protecting kids and other vulnerable persons from being adversely affected by gambling
– Ensuring a fairer market for all players and more informed customers
– Keeping gambling crime-free
– Improving gambling regulations
Going forward, the commission is committed to being independent, and letting all investigations be evidence-led. The commission seeks to employ an innovative and targeted approach to its regulatory function, as is consistent with the commission’s objectives and mandate. To be able to achieve more, the commission seeks to establish partnerships, both local and internationally, with key stakeholders in the gambling industries including regulators. Indeed, the gambling commission will always be ready to intervene and use its state-accorded powers to achieve the greater and noble objective of making gambling fairer and safer for everyone who chooses to be a part of it.
The Gambling Commission has been hard at work this past year and indeed, in previous years. So much good work has been achieved and more waits as outlined in its plan for the next few years. Operators should do their bit and work hand in hand with the commission to ensure the gambling space is fair and safe.