UKGC Set To Be Questioned By The House of Lords
The House of Lords have put together a select committee that held discussion and questioned the UK Gaming Commission (UKGC) earlier this week. The discussions were focused on the economic and social impact of gambling in the UK.
The House of Lords is questioning the UKGC as part of a year-long investigation, led by Yarmouth’s Lord Michael Grade, in order to develop the best available regulatory framework and oversight system for the gambling industry.
The UKGC will be represented in the hearing by Dr. Bill Moyes, their Chairman, and Neil McArthur, their Chief Executive. They will be tasked with explaining how their regulatory organisation tackles their task of supervising the country’s gambling industry.
In particular, UKGC representatives will be probed on their chosen approaches to regulation, with a focus on delineating the direct relationship forged by the UKGC with gambling firm executives. The apparent cosiness between the gambling watchdog and select executives has drawn the ire of some MPs, who warn against potential conflicts of interest under such close relationships.
The UKGC will also be expected to answer inquiries related to its capabilities to govern the gambling industry. Consumer behaviours, technological advancements, and the continued innovation of gambling services and products present a serious technological challenge to any regulatory body. The GC must assure the House of Lords that they are up to the task.
Close Partnership with Gambling Operators Scrutinized
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APGG) has taken the lead in attacking the commission, specifically pointing to the appointment of GVC Holdings as a leader in a taskforce aimed at developing of a code of conduct for VIP rewards. According to the APGG, this is a clear conflict of interest as gambling firms must not be allowed to have a say in how to govern themselves, to minimise the risk of tainting the regulatory process in the eyes of the public.
The hearing this week is the second hearing called for by the committee. Just last week, the committee summoned the five largest betting firms in the UK—Flutter Plc, Sky Bet, bet365, William Hill, and GVC Holdings—to testify on their collaboration with the UKGC. While the firms’ answers satisfied the committee as to the benefits of such a close partnership, the House requires more information to ensure that the relationship does not negatively impact customers.