The Gambling Commission’s annual business plan for the forthcoming year is set against the backdrop of various challenges to the industry such as: supply chain consolidation; the launch of national sector-specific self-exclusion schemes; technological changes and controversy around fixed odds betting terminals. The plan emphasises a “continuing focus on putting consumers at the heart of everything we do” and sets out themes including:

  • protecting vulnerable consumers;
  • ensuring markets are fair and open; and
  • monitoring and challenging the National Lottery.

These themes, together with the Gambling Commission’s licensing objectives, are borne out in five general “strategic objectives” which remain similar to previous years and include improving regulation and building partnerships with regulators in other jurisdictions.

A number of future action steps have also been laid down, for example:

  • delivering the new three-year National Responsible Gambling Strategy (2016-2019), which centres on researching, evaluating and preventing gambling-related harm;
  • reviewing the Gambling Commission’s enforcement policies; and
  • working with the Remote Gambling Association to implement a self-exclusion scheme on remote devices.

One other priority highlighted in the plan is strengthening the licence conditions and codes of practice on crime. This follows a recent statement from Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrisson that operators’ terms and conditions will be a focus throughout the year. In particular, she stated that the length and complexity of many of these terms needs addressing. The Plan highlights again the Gambling Commission’s increased focus on operators’ compliance.