Neil McArthur, the head of the Gambling Commission in Great Britain, decided to resign with immediate effect. Thus, Great Britain’s gambling regulator is now left without a chief executive amidst the government’s review of gambling laws.
McArthur’s resignation comes at a critical juncture for the regulator, especially when it has been under fire for its failure to rein in VIP schemes, ban gambling on credit cards, and adapt to the rise of online and mobile gaming, among other issues. There’s also criticism of the regulator for its failure to give proper oversight of the Football Index.
The Growing Dissatisfaction Over the Gambling Commission
According to a government report, the Gambling Commission is struggling to protect people from gambling-related harm. The National Audit Office stated that the regulator has not been able to adjust to technological changes such as the rise of online and mobile gaming involving gambling like sports betting sites or mobile casino apps. In fact, due to its funding constraints, which is an annual budget of £19m, it has not been able to properly regulate an industry that took £11.3bn from punters last year.
As said by the NTO, it’s “constrained by factors outside its control, including inflexible funding and a lack of evidence on how developments in the industry affect consumers” and that it’s “unlikely to be fully effective in addressing risks and harms to consumers within the current arrangement.”
Because of these growing problems, many have voiced their concern regarding the Gambling Commission’s way of handling things. Labour MP Carolyn Harris, in particular, has made her stand on this.
“The Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose and Neil McArthur [its chief executive] should resign in the light of this report. The commission is simply not up to the job of regulating the gambling industry, particularly the online sector, parts of which seem to operate like the wild west,” said Harris.
Because of McArthur’s immediate resignation, Sarah Gardner and Sally Jones will jointly become acting chief executives of the regulator. They are the deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, respectively. But, there will be no hiring for a permanent chief executive until the appointment of a new chair. In this case, Billy Moyes, the current chairman’s office, will end later this year.
The Former Chief Executive’s Take on the Matter
According to McArthur, “I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer, and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges.
“With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new chief executive to lead the commission on the next stage in its journey.”
He spent nearly 15 years working at the Gambling Commission. He served as general counsel and chief executive from 2018 until his resignation this 2021.
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