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Scrutinizing the Gambling Commission’s Adherence to the Regulators’ Code in UK’s Betting Market



The Crucial Role of the Regulators’ Code in UK’s Gambling Sector

The Gambling Commission‘s approach to regulating Britain’s robust betting and gaming market is a focal point for industry stakeholders. The release of a new report titled “Questions of Principle” ignites a vital dialogue regarding the Commission’s compliance with the Regulators’ Code and the Nolan Principles. There’s a prevailing ambiguity around the Code’s influence over the sector’s regulation, and this uncertainty isn’t beneficial for consumers.

Introduced in 2014 by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Regulators’ Code mandates statutory regulators like the Gambling Commission to consider the Code while performing their duties. Last year, Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes described the Code as a “sensible set of guiding principles,” a remark that sparked criticism from legal experts, highlighting a disconnect between the regulator, its licensees, and legal professionals.

Analyzing Compliance: Where the Gambling Commission Stands

The Code’s six provisions aim at enhancing regulatory activities with a focus on risk, transparency, and compliance support. Our analysis suggests that while the Gambling Commission, which hasn’t declared any exemptions from the Code, often adheres to its standards, there have been notable lapses, especially concerning supporting compliance and ensuring transparency.

The report underscores how the first provision of the Code, often misconstrued as promoting unchecked economic growth, actually emphasizes avoiding unnecessary regulatory burdens and understanding the economic impacts of regulatory activities. However, evidence suggests the Commission’s public consultations rarely reflect a proactive stance on minimizing regulatory burdens.


Challenges and Achievements: A Balanced View of the Commission’s Role

Our report identifies several instances where the Commission’s actions appear to fall short of the Code’s standards, including issues with regulatory settlement grants, misuse of statistics in consultations, and opaque policy determinations. Additionally, concerns about bias within the Commission’s Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and undisclosed meeting notes further exacerbate the issue.

Despite these challenges, it’s crucial to acknowledge the Commission’s successes in maintaining a market with low rates of illegal and underage gambling and a commendable approach to sports integrity. Notably, the rate of problem gambling in the UK remains low by international standards, although the Commission’s plan to replace the NHS Health Survey with a new Gambling Survey may affect these figures.

In Conclusion: Enhancing the Commission’s Use of the Regulators’ Code

The Regulators’ Code serves as an essential guide for market regulators, helping them focus on their statutory roles while avoiding distractions from conflicting political agendas. The Gambling Commission could leverage the Code more effectively by clearly stating how it informs its strategy, actively monitoring and reporting on compliance, and establishing a constructive engagement mechanism with licensees for addressing breaches.

The absence of these measures risks perpetuating confusion and cynicism, which neither serve the interests of the consumers nor the integrity of the UK’s gambling market. As the industry evolves, it is imperative that the Gambling Commission aligns its regulatory practices with the principles of the Regulators’ Code to ensure a balanced, fair, and consumer-focused approach to market oversight.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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