MPs Launch Inquiry Into ‘Competence and Effectiveness’ of UK Gambling Commission

  • The APBGG is asking for submissions from industry members before an October 31 deadline
  • The inquiry will assess the suitability of the UK Gambling Commission as the market’s regulator
  • It will cover three key areas, including instances in which the UKGC acted beyond its powers
  • MPs are currently mulling reform of UK gambling law in a review of the Gambling Act 2005
Businessman reading document through magnifying glass
Amid an ongoing review of UK gambling law, a group of MPs have launched a new inquiry into the UKGC to assess its suitability as a gaming regulator. [Image:]

Spotlight on the UKGC

As the UK government mulls reform to its gambling laws, its official gaming regulator has found itself facing criticism from a number of angles. Now, a group of MPs have launched an inquiry into the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), asking for contributions from operators and their advisers.

failed to confront numerous criticisms made by members of the industry

The Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG) announced the beginning of the inquiry over the weekend. According to the body, the UKGC has failed to confront numerous criticisms made by members of the industry in regards to its “competence and effectiveness.”

As a result, the APBGG has asked the industry to submit any evidence to its website of the UKGC acting in a way they feel is “unacceptable of an industry regulator.” Participants have until October 31, 2021 to enter their submissions. After this point, the group will determine whether the entries warrant the writing of a report.

Three key areas

The APBGG said its inquiry will provide a platform for criticisms and complaints in an anonymous manner, allowing for more open and honest discussion. In a statement posted to its website over the weekend, the group revealed the three types of complaints that industry members may submit during the process.

They can provide evidence of any instance in which the regulator acted “Ulta Vires,” beyond the powers of a regulator. The group is also asking for situations in which the Gambling Commission acted in breach of its code of conduct or provided a poor quality level of service.

it is our duty to provide a conduit for legitimate criticism”

Commenting on the launch, Scott Benton MP, co-chair of the APBGG, asserted that some industry members have failed to voice their criticism because of the power of the UKGC. He described it as “essential” to provide a voice for these critics and challenge the “key player” in the industry.

“We believe it is our duty to provide a conduit for legitimate criticism of the regulator,” Benton stated.

A vital time for the industry

The APBGG inquiry comes at a significant time for the UK Gambling Industry, with the DDCMS currently completing its review of the Gambling Act 2005. It began in December 2020, and MPs will consider a number of subjects during the process. This includes the introduction of stake limits for online gambling, possible limits of gambling advertising in sports, and the issue of loot boxes in video games.

Notably, as part of that process, the UKGC’s role is also under review. The APBGG has confirmed that it expects its inquiry to provide evidence for the DDCMS’s Gambling Act reform. Added to this, the body said it will provide the resultant report to any MPs with oversight of industry regulators, and will also make the information available on its website. 

Adding to the UKGC’s list of woes, MPs have launched an investigation into the regulator relating to the collapse of sports betting company Football Index earlier this year. According to a document seen by The Guardian in March, the regulator supposedly received a warning about the company in January 2020, more than one year before its eventual collapse.

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