The Gambling Commission has published its annual Compliance and Enforcement Report – a document featuring the findings of the regulator’s extensive casework against licence holders and detailing where the industry needs to raise standards.
This report covers the financial year 2020 – 2021, a period during which Commission casework led to the suspension of five operator licences and the revocation of licences for one operator and nine personal management licence holders.
It also saw a total of £32.1 million being paid by 15 gambling businesses as a result of fines or regulatory settlements – more than any previous year.
Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes said: “As the Commission’s new Chief Executive, I am impressed by the amount of enforcement work carried out, but it is also disappointing that it should be necessary. Looking back at enforcement in 2020/21 we see the same two weaknesses in almost every case – operators failing to adhere to social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules.
“These regulations are there for two very good reasons – to protect people and ensure that gambling is crime-free. These rules underpin two of the three licensing objectives, without which it would be impossible for us to permit gambling as laid out in the Gambling Act 2005. So, adherence should be at the forefront of every operator’s mind.
He continued: “The reasons for these failings are almost as concerning as the failings themselves. Our casework reveals that operators are either not making suitable resources available or are simply putting commercial objectives ahead of regulatory ones. This is simply unacceptable and will be seen as such by others in the industry who work hard to achieve compliance.”
Mr Rhodes added: “Of course, I know that many gambling firms have had a difficult 18 months, and that the future of many companies was unclear. Hard decisions were made to save jobs and livelihoods.
“Whilst the threat of COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, the gambling sector has largely resumed operations. As Great Britain’s regulator for the gambling industry, we still see far too many breaches of regulations where everyone in the industry agrees we should not see them. The industry has the resources, skills and knowledge to change this.”