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GC: “Very little space” to consider policies not included in white paper

| By Marese O'Hagan
Tim Miller, executive director for research and policy at the GB Gambling Commission, has said that there will be “very little space” for the Commission to address policies not included in the white paper over the next few years.

This comes six days after the white paper was released, on 27 April. Although welcomed, it attracted a range of criticism from the industry. Issues spanned marketing, safer gambling initiatives and the land-based industry.

Miller said that the Commission will have less space to address developments not included in the white paper over the next few years. This is due to the magnitude of the policies covered in the document.

“The scale of work outlined in the white paper is significant, and rightly so,” said Miller. “This will be the dominant policy initiative for the Commission over the next few years as we move through the stages of development, implementation, evaluation and review.

“The scale of change, even with increased resources in future, means there will be very little space for the Commission to consider other policy developments not included in the white paper.”

The Commission’s role

Miller said that the Commission understands the breadth of the white paper’s contents. But he added that efforts will be made to begin the process of implementation as soon as possible.

“While the implementation of the white paper will likely take a number of years to fully complete, that doesn’t mean we can’t make rapid progress in a number of key areas,” he said.

However, Miller added that the implementation process will be preceded by a number of consultations. These consultations were outlined in the white paper and were the subject of judgement by some.

The consultations, said Miller, will begin shortly and will underline the success of the Commission’s implementations.

“It is our intention that the first set of white paper-related Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) consultations will be published this summer and pre-consultation engagement with stakeholders will have begun in a number of other policy areas,” Miller continued.

“While we will move quickly to start implementing white paper commitments, we will also want to ensure that as wide a variety of experiences and expertise inform the way that those commitments are turned into practical reality.”

Additional regulatory powers

Miller said that the white paper gave additional responsibilities and “regulatory powers” to the Commission. He said that these will be targeted towards illegal gambling and collaboration across the government.

“The white paper gave a commitment to increasing our regulatory powers to tackle illegal gambling and to facilitating cross-government collaboration on a number of areas, which will help us deliver on our growing regulatory responsibilities,” he explained.

However, Miller said that the document had not shifted the Commission’s focus on ensuring regulation and compliance from UK operators.

“Of course, this focus on implementing the recommendations in the white paper as quickly as possible will not distract us from continuing to robustly pursue compliance with our existing requirements,” he continued.

“Where gambling operators fail to meet our standards we will continue to take action to protect consumers and raise standards, while at the same time playing our part in meeting the government’s ambition of delivering gambling reform for the digital age.”

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