The Commission said its new strategy will be delivered through five priority areas: the protection of children and vulnerable people from gambling-related harm, a fairer market with better-informed customers, keeping crime out of gambling, optimising charitable donations from the National Lottery and improving gambling regulation.
The Commission’s three-year strategy shows similarities to the last one published, for 2018-21, whose key priorities were protecting the interests of consumers, preventing harm to the public, raising standards in the gambling market, optimising charitable returns from lotteries and improving the way the Commission regulates.
An increased focus on reducing criminal activity and increasing protections for minors and vulnerable people appear to be two key differences, in addition to changes to the business plan made in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The regulator’s annual business plan sets out the key milestones it hopes to achieve between April 2021 and March 2022.
It said that delivering a high quality, effective competition for the next National Lottery licence while maintaining the current performance of the existing licence is a key focus.
It also said that ensuring operator compliance with enhanced player protection measures will continue to drive its work in the next 12 months, while it continues to focus on the future with the review of the Gambling Act.
Referring to its response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the business plan states that instructions given to the industry including the implementation of stronger affordability checks, the banning of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers, have been further justified by additional Covid-19 specific data it has gathered since making the requests to the industry.
According to the commission’s income forecast for the next 12 months, it expects 34% of its income to come from the betting sector, 26% from casino, 12% from software, 8% from each of machines, lotteries and arcades, and a further 4% from bingo.
Staff expenditure is expected to make up 73% of the year’s costs, while other areas including IT, professional fees, office and administrative, research, recruitment and training and others make up the remainder.