Neil McArthur (CEO Gambling Commission) Keynote Speech during the Gambling Commission Raising Standards Conference, ICC, Birmingham.08/11/2018.

UKGC Chief Exec calls on UK sector to become fairest and safest in world

Addressing the Raising Standards Conference in Birmingham earlier this week, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur has called on the industry to work together and know their customers better, in an attempt to make gambling in Britain the fairest and safest in the world.

Held at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham, the event was attended by 170 leaders from more than 100 gambling businesses, and aimed at encouraging the most senior members of the industry to take action to boost fairness and safety.

McArthur explained: “I want consumers in Britain to be able to enjoy the fairest and safest gambling in the world… and to achieve my aims I need your support: I need you to work together to make sure you are the best – the fairest, safest – gambling operators in the world.”

He told delegates he wanted gambling businesses to collaborate and focus on three areas – understanding the early signs which could indicate a customer is experiencing or developing problems, interacting with those customers to ensure they can receive support and advice, and rebuilding public trust by changing advertising strategies.

“This is a call to action to join the race to the top,” he said. “A race to put your customers, their enjoyment and their safety at the top of the agenda for your management meetings, your board meetings and meetings with your investors.

“A race to approach the minimum requirements we impose as exactly that: minimums not maximums. A race to look for real solutions to the public health issue of gambling related harm.”

Today’s conference also heard from Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and representatives from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Twitter UK.

Guy Parker, ASA Chief Executive, said: “The existing rules that regulate the content and targeting of gambling advertising are working effectively, but there is public concern about the timing and quantity. Today’s Gambling Commission conference is a great opportunity for gambling firms to discuss how those concerns might be addressed.”

George Lusty, CMA Senior Director for Consumer Protection, added: “We’ve seen gambling operators making changes to promotions and withdrawal practices, and this is a great start, but it’s only one aspect of achieving compliance and clearly much more needs to be done by the sector to win back customer trust.

“The best operators going forward will be those who lead by example, those who build on the work we’ve done and treat their consumers fairly and responsibly.”

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