Is responsible gambling enough?

Sarah Harrison delivered what will be one of her final speeches as Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission at yesterday’s World Regulatory Briefing and International Casino Conference.

At the conclusion of her speech (that can be downloaded below), she said:

“For those working in the industry the weight of British media coverage can make it feel like a dark place with an uncertain future. But you are not powerless – the ability to change public perception lies entirely within your hands. You are stewards of a century’s old industry and as current leaders now is the time to think about what type of industry you want to hand on to the next generation.  

Now is the time to make big, bold gestures to demonstrate a real commitment to fairer and safer gambling: So what might that look like? Here are some of my thoughts on what is needed:

  • a common, industry wide framework for identifying and acting upon harmful play at an early stage;
  • a single independent ombudsman scheme to give consumers assurance that their voices will be heard and their complaints taken seriously;
  • a proper and sustainable approach to funding research, education and treatment that is based upon need and not on a rudimentary percentage of GGY, and structurally
  • a rethink of the business model with its dependence on fewer larger spenders – less can be more over the longer term, and finally, for future generations
  • concerted action by industry, regulators and policy makers, to bring an end to the normalisation of gambling as an activity, for children and young people. In particular action to curb gambling advertising on social media, and a hard look at the prevalence of marketing and advertising in sport, especially football.

Now is the time to rebuild consumer and public trust, to build a future for this industry with strong foundations based upon fairness and safety. And the Gambling Commission will continue to be there with you on this journey:

  • to challenge you to continuously raise standards;
  • to intervene by taking precautionary action where this is necessary;
  • to give leadership on cross cutting issues such as tackling gambling related harms;
  • to work with you to support innovation and action that benefits consumers and the public.

In short, the Gambling Commission will continue to be there to make gambling in Britain fairer and safer.”

Following her speech, she was interviewed for ICE Live 2018 and a video of that interview is available on YouTube: