The Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group (APBGG) has launched an inquiry to investigate the purpose and competence of the Gambling Commission in Great Britain (GB).
The parliamentary group made up of cross-party MPs announced the inquiry after receiving numerous criticisms about the regulator from members of the industry. The group also mentioned that operators had previously been "too scared" to publicly criticise the Gambling Commission due to the power it has over the industry in GB.
The APBGG said it is providing a platform for complaints of the Gambling Commission to be made anonymously, with the deadline for such criticisms set for 31 October. If the level of submissions warrants a report the group will present its findings to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and invite Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes to attend an audience meeting of the group to respond.
Complaints submitted must include times where it was felt the Commission acted beyond its powers and breached the regulators code, or provided a poor quality of service.
APBGG Co-Chair Scott Benton MP said: "For a number of years, industry members have come to us and complained about the activities of the Commission. They have been too scared to go public with their concerns, some even about the very legality of the Commission’s undertakings due to the Commission’s power over them."
"As they have no formal method of complaint apart from to the Commission itself, we feel it is our duty to provide a conduit for legitimate criticism of the regulator. All the British gambling industry wants is a competent and effective regulator."
Responding to the inquiry, a Gambling Commission spokesperson added: "The Gambling Commission is committed to make gambling fairer, safer and crime-free."
"To achieve this we regularly and openly engage with parliamentarians, on both the government’s Gambling Act review, which we support as statutory advisor to the secretary of state for DCMS, and to discuss a range of topics within our regulatory purview with individuals and groups, including the APPG on Betting and Gaming."
The inquiry comes at a time of a government-led DCMS review into the 2005 Gambling Act, which concluded in March 2021. A list of changes will be recommended at the end of the year, with the key points looking at online stake limits, gambling advertisement and sponsorship in sport, and the effectiveness of the Gambling Commission.
Last June, the APBGG called for a complete overhaul of the Gambling Commission, calling it "not fit for purpose" but said the critical comments of the Commission made in several issued reports were never investigated.
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