APPG criticises UKGC’s collaborative approach on VIP conduct

The UKGC has come under criticism for allowing GVC Holdings to lead the development of a ‘code of conduct on high-value customers’ (VIP programmes).

MPs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm criticised the UKGC’s decision as revealed by Chief Executive Neil McArthur at last week’s ‘CMS Gambling Conference’, where he addressed industry leadership on the UKGC’s 2020 agenda and objectives.

APPG Chair Carolyn Harris MP branded the decision as a ‘conflict of interest’, adding her disbelief that GVC Holdings – a company fined £5.9 million in 2019 for AML and social responsibility failings – would lead such a directive.

Harris’ criticism of the Commission was supported by Conservative Party MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who underlined that the UKGC had yet again proved itself incapable of governing UK gambling.

Branding the UKGC’s decision as “bizarre”, Duncan Smith said: “The Gambling Commission needs to be reformed. This really does show you where the thinking has gone completely wrong. It’s like putting the mafia in charge of looking into organised crime.”

Amid mounting criticism by APPG members, McArthur was forced to defend the UKGC’s track record as a regulatory body, highlighting its commitment to raising industry standards and protecting consumers.

He also challenged betting leadership to draft the foundations of a new code of conduct on engaging with high-value customers, which should be presented in time for the UKGC’s Spring’s Raising Standards Conference.

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