Gambling operators in the U.K. could learn a lot of lessons about compliance from the mistakes of others. The U.K. Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced the release of their latest Enforcement Report, their commentary on the work they’ve done, some of the penalties they’ve had to assess, and lessons the industry should take.
The report itself is broken down into seven disciplines relevant to the industry: safer gambling, anti-money laundering (AML), marketing and advertising, illegal activities, affordability, consumer protection and compliance.
While each discipline outlines notable cases where the UKGC had to crack down on operators, they stress that they present these as “industry guidance,” providing leadership for the industry based on what those case studies can provide as lessons. UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur stresses in the report’s forward that it should be seen as a “support tool which the industry can use and digest the lessons to be learned for the future.”
The report provides some interesting insights into the UKGC’s activities. In the 2018/19 regulatory year, the commission imposed £19.6 million ($24.9 million) in penalties. McArthur noted that this was an alarming number for the regulator, who wished that everyone could just take it a bit easier on the bad behavior. He explained:
“As the report shows, we will be tough when we find operators bending the rules or failing to meet our expectations, but we also want to try and minimise the need for such action by providing advice, a programme of support material and compliance activity to help operators get things right in the first place.’’
The report comes with very convenient timing. An opinion piece recently criticized the gambling industry in the U.K. for targeting children with their advertising and generally building the entire system around building addiction. While that opinion goes a bit too far in its conclusions, operators now have a very helpful guide to work from to further improve their image, and distance themselves from possible accusations of impropriety.