The chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes, addressed industry leaders on November 10 to discuss the issues surrounding affordability checks and the challenges faced by the industry with the implementation of the Government’s Gambling Act Review White Paper.
In his speech, Rhodes acknowledged the growing polarization within the industry and outlined the Commission’s impartiality as an independent regulator, emphasizing that they have clear statutory objectives and don’t have a commercial interest in what happens. He also expressed his frustration with the misinformation and unbalanced arguments that have characterized the gambling debate over the past year.
Despite concerns about affordability checks driving customers towards the black market, Rhodes believes that the risk is overstated and that there has been significant progress in addressing extreme cases of gambling harm. He urged the industry to work together to navigate the changing legislative landscape and emphasized the need to strike a balance between the industry’s growth and the sustainability of the customer.
Rhodes warned that the racing industry would not receive special treatment when it comes to affordability checks and stated that it is not the job of the Commission to consider or advise on the wider implications for any given sport. He also highlighted research that showed the dependence of horseracing on gambling losses and the disproportionate contribution of a small proportion of bettors to the industry’s revenue.
In conclusion, Rhodes confirmed that the Gambling Commission is working on developing a new three-year Corporate Strategy, with a focus on communicating clearly and building effective partnerships. He expressed his hope that working together would lead to better regulation, better outcomes, and safer, fairer, and crime-free gambling across Great Britain.