The National Strategic Assessment and way forward for gambling regulation

Speaking at yesterday’s Westminster Media Forum policy conference “The future for gambling regulation”, Gambling Commission Executive Director, Tim Miller, delivered a speech entitled “The National Strategic Assessment and way forward for gambling regulation” (that you can download below).

As its title suggests, the speech focused on the Commission’s first ever National Strategic Assessment published in November 2020, on which we have reported previously here.

However, it also included:

In terms of looking ahead, rather than back, Miller’s speech concluded with a section entitled “Next steps and making gambling safer”, in which he said:

We published our response to our consultation on Safer Game design earlier this month.  Our intention is to make online games, in particular online slots safer by design.  Preventing harm through the Product.  The headline measures include outright bans on:

  • Features that speed up play or give the illusion of control over the outcome
  • Slot spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds
  • Auto-play – which can lead to players losing track of their play, and;
  • Sounds or imagery which give the illusion of a win when the return is in fact equal to, or below, a stake.

Of course, we will follow the implementation of these rules with thorough evaluation, but in short, these new rules are unprecedented in terms of player safety around the world.

Of course, regulating a £14 billion industry requires resourcing and so we welcome the DCMS consultation on our funding that opened last month.  It will explore much needed changes to our fee income to enable us to continue to regulate effectively.  We would encourage everyone interested by the proposals to have their say.

In the Spring we will be publishing our Business plan and new Corporate Strategy.  And whilst I can’t yet share the details of what they will include, you can rest assured that the Commission will be maintaining its clear focus on making gambling safer, fairer and crime free.

  • We will continue to take action where needed, just as we have done throughout the pandemic and over the last few years.
  • We will continue to seek opportunities to collaborate:  We are determined to make progress with the ICO and operators on developing a Single Customer View.  We will also continue to work with others on improving affordability measures, even whilst we consider the evidence submitted to our call for evidence.
  • And we will continue to be unrelenting and uncompromising on ensuring compliance with our standards and taking enforcement action where those standards are not met.

He concluded with the following words:

We are working hard to make Great Britain the safest place to gamble in the world and we need you all to work with us to achieve that outcome.

  • We want to achieve this through collaboration.  We recognise the unprecedented pressures on businesses and we know that some operators have been forced to make tough decisions to keep businesses and jobs viable in recent months,
  • But we won’t hold back.  Operators must raise their standards to meet ours.
  • We want to do more to help things go right in the first place.  But we will intervene when things go wrong.

The last twelve months have undoubtedly been tough for all of us.  But even through the turbulence of the pandemic, progress is being made in making gambling safer. The evidence is suggesting that we are on the right track.  So let’s keep on going together.