Gambling Commission chief calls on casinos to do more to relieve risks placed on players

  • Lead regulator says industry must address risks together
  • Safer gambling, not PR exercises, will improve addiction rates

The head of the UK Gambling Commission has called for a wider focus on increasing safety in gaming across all industry operators, and says that the industry must work together to relieve some of the risk placed on players.

Tim Miller Gambling Commission
Tim Miller Executive Director of Gambling Commission

Tim Miller’s recent regulatory briefing also states that recent negative press has affected the casino industry, but that headlines can be turned around not through marketing and PR, but by increasing safety standards in gaming.

Efforts to improve safety occurring “too late”

In a recent speech, Miller reports that much of the emphasis on responsible gaming is placed on the player themselves, while the companies are let off the hook.

Advertising and marketing in gambling have come under scrutiny lately, with the Commission handing out hefty fines for breaches of the responsible gaming code.

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However, Miller argues that this focus on responsible gaming at the point of play is coming too late for those at-risk of problem gambling.

“We’re getting better at thinking about the responsible consumption of gambling but see little discussion or progress in the responsible supply of gambling.”Tim Miller

“We need to be preventing harm from occurring and not just responding to it once it has happened.”

Gambling Commission must balance everyone’s needs

“It’s fair to say that at the moment we don’t have a clear enough picture of the behaviours and attitudes of gambling consumers,” conceded Miller.

However, ongoing research projects by the Gambling Commission and its affiliated partners aims to paint a clear picture of the gambling scene within the UK. Public opinion is in itself divided, leaving authorities in the difficult position of trying to please everyone.

“Two thirds of people agreed that they should have the right to gamble whenever they wanted,” notes Miller, yet “nearly eight in every ten thought that there were too many opportunities to gamble.”

The role of the Commission is to protect consumers and the general public against potential harm caused by gambling, but the agency recognizes that the public wants to gamble – and has a right to do so freely.

It also has a duty to operators, to ensure that they can continue their business in a secure and open environment and that the market remains competitive.

Introducing the National Responsible Gambling Strategy

The National Responsible Gambling Strategy is a set of guidelines established by the Gambling Commission, along with gambling industry representatives, charities and safety groups, to standardize the requirements for safer gambling.

Miller says that the NRGS will give operators and players a ‘sense of shared purpose’, and that by working together to improve the game product companies can expose players to less risk.

“The task of turning around those headlines, not through PR, but by truly making gambling safer may be difficult,” Miller warned industry insiders at his recent briefing.

“ But it also means that for everybody sat here today we can have a job that changes lives, improves communities and benefits society.”

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