UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) Chairman, Bill Moyes has defended the Commission’s strategy on the reduction of gambling harm and raising standards in the gambling industry.
Moyes was talking at North West Reducing Gambling Harms, a conference hosted by community councils in Greater Manchester. He was responding to criticism that had been aimed at UKGC by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm. Earlier this month, the APPG criticised the UKGC for allowing a prominent gambling industry body GVC Holdings to lead the creation of a new code of conduct for the industry on VIP schemes.
Moyes said that he backed the National Strategy put forward by the Commission, which involves a wide-ranging approach to gambling addiction, including investigation of the problem. He said that in the three years that he has been Chair at the UKGC, there has been a change of emphasis:
“In that time the Commission has developed a very strong focus on understanding the scale of gambling harm and developing effective plans to tackle this problem in partnership with others.”
Moyes outlined the three elements of the strategy, which involved developing a clearer understanding of the consequences of gambling addiction, updating and reviewing the regulatory regime in the UK and working with gambling firms to improve the safety of the industry.
He also said that the UKGC and the industry recognised that ‘warm words’ are not enough and that gambling companies needed to change their culture, partly through betting training and staff development. He added that there had been several high-profile breaches of licence conditions in which staff had been involved in encouraging customers to gamble.
Going forward, Moyes said that the UKGC would have to focus increasingly on individual behaviour rather than companies, and that by holding individual executives to account, they could make a bigger impact in improving the way the industry operates than through fines.