UKGC interim CEO Andrew Rhodes would get permanent role amid crackdown vow, gambling review

UKGC interim CEO Andrew Rhodes would get permanent role amid crackdown vow, gambling review

Andrew Rhodes, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the UK Gambling Commission, is set to be given the job on a permanent basis, according to The Guardian. Rhodes, who became acting chief executive in June 2021, following the resignation of Neil McArthur, vowed to crack down on gambling companies’ “recidivist behaviors” before a landmark industry review.

Rhodes’ ambition to take a stricter approach to gambling regulation has been in line with the Government’s own plans and the expected reforms to be introduced in new gambling legislation. These are set to be unveiled in a government white paper this year.

According to the prestigious UK newspaper, Rhodes’ tone has been “well-received” by both the Gambling Commission and the government. The culture minister, Nadine Dorries, is now expected to confirm his permanent appointment “imminently,” on a salary of £150,000 ($203,000).

Prior to joining the UKGC, Rhodes worked as director of operations at the Department for Work and Pensions, and also served as chief operating officer of the Food Standards Agency. He was also chief operating officer of Swansea University and chair of the community trust at Swansea City football club, which in 2020 became the highest-profile UK club to drop a betting company as its sponsor amid a campaign to further separate betting and the sport.

As permanent Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Rhodes will be tasked with overseeing the regulator throughout two key moments in the UKGC history: the competition for the fourth national lottery license, and the incoming government gambling review

In a statement delivered in December, in which Rhodes reflected on enforcement in the 2020/21 period, the UKGC CEO admitted he was “impressed” by the amount of enforcement work carried out, but also “disappointing” that it was necessary.

Throughout the financial year, a total of £32.1 million ($43.4 million) were paid by 15 gambling businesses as a result of fines or regulatory settlements, a record-setting figure. Two weaknesses were seen in almost every case: operators failing to adhere to social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules.

Rhodes promised the Gambling Commission would take a hard line with companies that transgressed the conditions of their license more than once, and suggest a crackdown on “recidivist behaviors towards compliance” would be enforced.

As casework revealed operators are either not making suitable resources available or putting commercial objectives ahead of regulatory ones, Rhodes said this is “simply unacceptable” and that adherence should be “at the forefront of every operator’s mind.”

“As Great Britain’s regulator for the gambling industry, we still see far too many breaches of regulations where everyone in the industry agrees we should not see them,” Rhodes warned. “The industry has the resources, skills and knowledge to change this.”