Navigating Brexit and the ever changing gambling landscape

Navigating Brexit and the ever changing gambling landscape

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sarah Harrison MBE, CEO of the Gambling Commission set out her vision for the future for the organisation and the wider industry at ICE Vox’s World Regulatory Briefing on the opening day. On the final day of ICE Totally Gaming, we caught up with Harrison to talk trends, Brexit and the changing digital landscape.

What are the key priorities for the Gambling Commission in the next 12 months?

“The biggest priorities are building trust and confidence both in the industry and in the Commission. We will do this through improving our understanding further of consumer behaviour. Part of our drive is to put consumers at the heart of our work, industry also needs to put consumers at the heart of its work.”

“We will also be developing of a three-year corporate strategy  -  investing in our people, our skills and our culture. The Gambling Commission will also be providing advice to the Government on its gambling review in line with our statutory duties which will include a focus on the National Lottery and the lottery market and a review of the online market.”

What do you think are the biggest trends and challenges for the gaming industry this year?

“The biggest change for the Gambling Commission will be navigating the ever changing gambling landscape! We will also look at public policy and market developments – costs, consolidations and mergers.”

“The Commission will continue its work looking into issues surrounding problem gambling. And we will continue to uphold the Government’s pledge to step in and ‘fix’ broken markets that aren’t working for the consumer."

Are there any implications of the UK’s vote for Brexit on the Gambling Commission?

“There will still be the need for regulators – whether Europe-based or international – to share information and talk to each other, to share best practice.   To quote the Government, out of the EU doesn’t mean out of Europe.  Partnership with other regulators has never been more important.   That’s why we value interaction with fellow regulators who come to pick our brains and find out what our experience has been.”     

What measures will the Gambling Commission take to build consumer trust and confidence?

“The Commission will be taking a two-pronged approach to this issue.”

“Firstly, as laid out in our consumer engagement plan published last autumn, we will not just push information out to consumers but will be finding ways to hear directly from them.   Within next year’s business plan (April 2017–March 2018) we research the best way of receiving this consumer feedback via panels or focus groups - all options will be explored.”

“We are also revisiting the work of our Contact Centre as this is our frontline interface with most consumers.   We will be raising its profile, upskilling it further and ensuring that it has the resources to help consumers as effectively as possible.”

“But we expect higher commitment from operators too. Terms and conditions, marketing and advertising – these are high on our agenda as well as the agendas of other regulators such as the ASA and the ICO.”

“We want to see operators showing a higher degree of respect towards consumers.   We want to see social responsibility taken seriously, at the highest levels, as we believe that socially responsible organisations will, in the long-run, be the more successful businesses.”  

What were your impressions of ICE Totally Gaming 2017?

“Busy and bustling! It was good to see old acquaintances and to see the global gambling community coming together to learn, to share, to talk.”