Encouraging comments by Commission CEO at Safer Gambling Collaboration Day

Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur spoke yesterday at a pan-industry “Safer Gambling Collaboration” day, hosted by Skybet.

His speech (that can be downloaded below) focused on the challenge “we all face … how to balance consumer choice and enjoyment against the risks gambling can create and its impact on wider society”.

Based on our own experience of dealing with the Commission on behalf of not only operator clients but also a major gambling sector trade association, we support any move by (a) the Commission to work in collaboration with the industry and (b) operators from different sectors of the industry to collaborate to protect their customers. It is heartening therefore that in his speech, Neil McArthur said:

“We want to do more to help things go right in the first place – to provide support and guidance, and offer a forum for sharing practice. For example we are currently looking at a forum which brings together the industry, us and consumers which will look at ensuring the voice of the consumer is represented in customer interaction work. We want to support the industry in raising standards. Not just intervene when things go wrong and we need to take action. Over the next year we’ll be identifying more opportunities where we can provide more guidance and support. Whether this is through events – or helpful information and support tools”.

He identified in his speech the following three key questions that he invited delegates to reflect on, adding that: “if we make progress on these then we will make progress on the overall challenge”:

Question 1: How to identify who might be suffering harm? (adding “I don’t mean self-exclusion of people who have already suffered harm, I mean harm prevention. What are you doing? How do you know it works?”)

Question 2: What is the point of identifying people suffering harm unless we do something about it? (adding “How can we ensure that people who are already suffering harm receive appropriate support and treatment? What works? For whom and in what circumstances?)

Question 3: How can we evaluate what works? (adding “Need better evaluation. Independent evaluation. We need to share lessons”).