Sarah Gardner, the deputy chief executive of the British Gambling Commission, announced that the outcomes of certain consultations on the regulator’s gambling white paper will be made public this summer. Speaking at the Lotteries Council Annual Conference, Gardner emphasized the importance of ensuring accuracy and effectiveness in the commission’s consultations regarding Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.
She assured attendees at the Lotteries Council Annual Conference that a balanced and diligent approach would be taken. She expressed the regulator’s intention to publish the first set of white paper-related License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) consultations in the summer, with preliminary engagement with stakeholders already underway in various policy areas.
While she couldn’t provide specific details at the time, Gardner assured the audience that further updates would be forthcoming. She encouraged operators to adhere to the three principles outlined by Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes: prioritizing people’s well-being, upholding ethical practices, and promoting comprehensive regulation.
Gardner emphasized the importance of conducting gambling in a fair and transparent manner, with a particular focus on safeguarding children and vulnerable individuals from harm or exploitation. She reiterated that operators failing to meet the Commission’s expectations would face significant penalties through compliance and enforcement measures.
However, Gardner also expressed the Commission’s openness to collaboration and engagement with operators who demonstrate a commitment to raising standards and achieving improved outcomes. She emphasized the need for collective efforts, especially in the implementation of the Gambling Act Review white paper.
During her address, Gardner not only provided an overview of the current state of gambling in the UK but also acknowledged the significant contributions of Society Lotteries and Charity Lotteries. She highlighted their pivotal role in local communities, emphasizing the positive impact they have.
Gardner expressed her appreciation for the efforts of everyone involved in these lotteries, recognizing their dedication to public welfare and the substantial funds they raise for worthy causes nationwide. While specific figures for smaller society lotteries were not available, she noted that large Society Lotteries alone generated £417 million for charitable purposes in the year leading up to March 2022.
Gardner underscored the importance of fundraising for charities and good causes, particularly in the context of emerging from a global pandemic, as it further demonstrated the crucial nature of such initiatives.
Gardner shared some noteworthy statistics regarding charity lotteries:
In the year leading up to March 2023, 13.4% of adults had participated in a charity lottery within the past four weeks. This figure has increased from 10.8% in 2018 and remained relatively stable during the Covid-19 pandemic, unlike other forms of gambling.
In 2022, participation in charity lotteries was highest among individuals aged 65 and above, with 17.3% of this age group participating. In contrast, only 3% of those aged 16-24 took part. Alongside bingo, charity lotteries were one of the few gambling activities where women were more likely to participate than men.
Online participation in charity lotteries has seen significant growth, with 63% of people engaging in these lotteries online compared to 34% in person, according to the year ending March 2023. This shift in participation methods highlights the need for operators to implement appropriate measures.
Gardner emphasized the success of society lotteries as a gambling product, noting their consistent growth in participant numbers despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted the distinct characteristics of charity lottery players compared to participants in other forms of gambling.
Gardner specifically drew attention to the high rate of online play in charity lotteries and its significance in the context of slower growth in the online gambling industry as a whole. She raised important questions about operators’ knowledge of their online customers, acknowledging that online play for society lotteries often revolves around payment methods but also addressing the importance of customer interactions in both simple online payment options and the development of instant win products.