The ICE World Regulatory Briefing has brought together some of the biggest watchdogs in the industry and among them, UK Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes. During an address, Rhodes stressed the importance of cross-border regulatory moves to build an industry that is resilient to “big players” while calling for more decisive steps in the fight against problem gambling and closing any remaining regulatory loops.
Calls for a United Response to Irregularities in Gambling
An idea Rhodes during was to have regulators collaborate on investigations that span across an individual country’s border and bring potential shortcomings any brand may have in numerous jurisdictions at the same time. If turned into practice, this proposal could drastically increase the scrutiny casinos face and arguably create safer conditions for consumers.
Recently, the former boss of the Spanish Gambling Authority entered the United Kingdom gambling industry as a private consultant. The calls by Rhodes come at a time when the UKGC is faced with some controversy at home. It has recently transpired that the regulator used around $195 million from good causes money to fund some operational deficits.
The UKGC is also taking flack from Camelot, the incumbent UK National Lottery company, over the regulator’s decision to pick Allwyn Entertainment as the new lottery operator. Rhodes, though, focused on the issue at hand and explained that many of the operators in his own jurisdiction have shown shortcomings in running their operations.
This is very likely to be the case in other jurisdictions as well, calling for a broader response. He touched on the fact that global actors in the gambling industry are coming together through mergers and acquisitions and consolidating their assets. From William Hill’s assets being divvied up to Evolution gobbling up NetEnt, arguably the biggest live and slot studios in the world. He said:
“Across markets, across jurisdictions, across cultures, collaboration will need to be a key tool in our work to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers worldwide.”
UK Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes
Rhodes did not miss to point out some of the successes the commission has had in the domestic market. For example, he spoke about the crackdown on credit card gambling and enforcing GAMSTOP as a prerequisite for any gambling operator in Great Britain to operate.
Challenges That Gambling Faces Now
He acknowledged, though, that the regulator’s remit was not necessarily all-reaching and there were some ecosystems, including NFTs and cryptocurrencies, which were hard to regulate by the watchdog. Rhodes criticized the way cryptocurrencies are presented as investments but they hardly have any of the consumer safeguards associated with these types of products.
He cautioned that cryptocurrencies and other products are making a move on lifestyle and sports and that regulators must be on their toes. “Many of these products are not gambling as defined by law, and I am not suggesting we should be regulating them, but I am suggesting we will see this pattern continue and we are likely to see more and more tests of what is and is not gambling, in a way we have not faced before,” Rhodes concluded.