UK Gambling Commission’s approach to industry regulation

Lea Hogg 2 months ago
UK Gambling Commission’s approach to industry regulation

Anti-gambling campaigners in the UK argue that a lack of regulation has allowed betting, especially online, to proliferate, leading to spiralling rates of harm, addiction, and even suicide, particularly among the young. MPs recently called for children to be shielded from the ‘bombardment’ by gambling ads at football grounds. One study found 7,000 gambling messages on billboards, shirt sponsorship, and in TV ad breaks in six matches on the opening weekend of the season.

The gambling sector rakes in £15 billion a year and attention was drawn to Bet365’s founder and CEO Denise Coates who recently caused a stir after paying herself £271 million, even though the gambling giant swung into a loss last year. However, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes, does not see himself as a profits regulator. “The industry can make as much as it wants as long as it is according to licensing objectives, if it’s not targeting vulnerable people, if it’s not from crime or because terms and conditions are unfair,” he states.

The industry disputes any direct link between sports advertising and gambling harm. It also opposes affordability checks – screening of punters’ bank accounts for signs of gambling distress. But the Government’s gambling strategy outlined last year wants stricter rules. So where does Rhodes stand?

“Our focus is to ensure any advertising is ‘responsible’ so gambling is not presented as ‘a way to solve problems, make money or relieve stress’,” he says. “But it is a difficult topic, as is sports sponsorship.”

Balancing act of profit and public welfare

Andrew Rhodes said in an interview with ‘This is Money” that he too has a personal interest in betting and he has become more professional since he assumed his role. Despite his position overseeing bookies, casinos, amusement arcades, and the National Lottery, he said that he enjoys a flutter and recently had a bit of success at Cheltenham, landing two winners on the opening day.

Rhodes, 56, is not a big gambler, but he’s been at it for a long time. “I’ll never make a living out of it, but I’m moderately successful,” he says. However, his role at the Gambling Commission has necessitated some restrictions. He can’t play the National Lottery due to his role in granting and managing the license that Czech-owned Allwyn has just taken over from Camelot. He can’t even gamble in betting shops or play slot machines.

While the gambling industry continues to rake in significant profits, the debate around its regulation and the potential harm it can cause continues. As the head of the Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes finds himself at the centre of this debate, tasked with balancing the interests of the industry with the need to protect vulnerable individuals. His stance on responsible advertising and his opposition to the industry’s profits being regulated provide a clear indication of his approach to these challenges.

Share it :

Recommended for you
Lea Hogg
2 days ago
Jenny Ortiz
2 days ago
Jenny Ortiz
3 days ago
Jenny Ortiz
3 days ago