The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has reported a significant increase in penalties as licensed gambling operators continue to breach gambling laws.
The commission released its Compliance & Enforcement Report that showed all the measures taken in the 12 months leading up to March 2020 to keep both land based and iGaming operators in compliance.
The report also outlined the numerous fines imposed by the regulator on different operators.
Between 2019 and 2020, the UKGC handed out regulatory settlements and penalty packages worth over £30 million, a 50% increment from the £19.6 million that was amassed from violators between 2018 and 2019. Five license holders were suspended, 11 licenses were revoked and another 49 personal management license holders placed under review.
Speaking on the 2019-20 report, Neil McArthur, the CEO of the UKGC said the report shows that the gambling operator has taken strict action against operators who have not been in compliance. The UKGC has been accused of being too lenient with license holders over the years but this report shows that the gambling watchdog is now being a lot more stringent with issuing heft fines and suspending operators for serious violations
McArthur said that the commission was also targeting senior executives and boardroom officials of licensed operators. This stance sends a strong message across the industry that individuals running these companies will be taken to task for non-compliance irrespective of whether they were aware or not aware of their failings.
With a second lockdown now confirmed, McArthur further added that the strict regulations that had been put in place in spring to protect gamblers during the first lockdown would continue to be in effect for the second phase.
High on the commission’s priority list is the clamping down on the exploitation of the people’s isolation through targeted marketing by cross-selling gambling products to race and sports bettors.
New NSA Report From UKGC
The UKGC also released its first ever National Strategic Assessment report which is a summary of the challenges that the commission faces in its bid to creating a conducive environment for secure and fair gambling free from crime.
Many see this report as a response to MP Carolyn Harris’s criticism of the UKGC who she said needed to be completely overhauled to make the gambling watchdog effective. The UK gambling industry can expect more changes as the government has plans to review the Gambling Act 2005.