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Gambling Commission announces licensing process overhaul

| By Richard Mulligan
Great Britain’s Gambling Commission has announced an overhaul of licensing processes, with the dedicated account manager model to be scrapped.
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The regulatory body said that operators will no longer have an individual point of contact, with licensing to comprise four sub-groups, each of which will be responsible for different areas of work.

The operating licence group will be responsible for processing applications for new operator licences, while the change of corporate control group is responsible for processing applications relating to changes of ownership and control for existing operators.

The operating licence vary group is responsible for processing applications relating to changes to existing operator licences, and the personal licence group is responsible for processing all applications relating to personal licences.

“We are changing our working practices to make the best use of our resources,” the Commission said in a statement. “By working in this way, we hope to be able to process applications more quickly. We also hope to be able to resolve queries more efficiently and effectively.”

The Commission confirmed that the way in which applications should be submitted has not changed.

The changes to licensing processes comes as the Gambling Commission awaits the publication of the Gambling Act white paper, which comes after a comprehensive review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The Commission’s role and powers have come under specific scrutiny in the review under the terms announced in December 2020.

The call for evidence in 2020 asked if the Commission has “sufficient investigation, enforcement and sanctioning powers” to bring about change and improve standards in the industry. It then asks if there is scope for its existing powers to be “used differently or more effectively”.

British industry body Gambling Business Group (GBG) noted last week that publication of the white paper, which forms part of the country’s Gambling Act Review, appeared to be imminent.

In March, Nigel Huddleston – the parliamentary undersecretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who also previously oversaw the gambling brief that is now the responsibility of Chris Philp, had told parliament that the white paper was “being finalised”.

The document is expected to address a wide range of topics relating to the gambling sector. In an initial call for evidence when the review launched, DCMS asked questions about topics such as stake limits, affordability checks and universal deposit limits, as well as restrictions on advertising and bonuses.

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