The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published a shortlist for its vacant Chairman position including Conservative peer Lord Chadlington (Peter Selwyn Gummer), former Deloitte board member Marcus Boyle and Responsible Gambling Strategy Board Chair Anna van der Gaag.
One of the key responsibilities of the new Chairman will be to coordinate the recruitment process for the new Chief Executive, with the position empty since March 2021, following the shock resignation of Neil McArthur in the wake of the collapse of Football Index.
The role is currently held by interim CEO Andrew Rhodes, who replaced Sarah Gardner in June. Meanwhile, the search for a new Chairman, who will replace incumbent chair Bill Moyes, will be decided by DCMS.
Additionally, oversight of the ongoing Fourth National Lottery Licence competition will also be a core responsibility for the new Chair, with the new 10-year licence holder due to be announced in February 2021, following a delay in proceedings.
A leading campaigner for improving the industry’s safer gambling protections and governance duties, in 2019 Lord Chadlington spearheaded the industry’s Top-5 corporate pledge– a directive which saw Entain, Flutter, bet365, Sky Bet and William Hill commit to funding 1% GGY to gambling research education and treatment (RET) programmes.
The Lord’s charity, Action Against Gambling Harms (AAGH), has played a central role in persuading the operators – who constitute the five largest licence holders in the UK – to make the £100 million voluntary commitment.
Additionally, the charity was in competition with leading responsible gamblling and gambling harm charity GambleAware for the responsibility of managing the funds. The decision to hand this responsibility to GambleAware caused a minor rift in parliament at the time, due to Chadlington and his charity playing an active role in securing the commitment from the top-five operators.
Although the fourth candidate on the shortlist has not yet been confirmed, The Times has reported that it will likely be an internal prospect, whilst Boyle currently serves as Chairman of the British American Drama Academy after retiring from Deloitte last year, and Van der Gaag serves at Sussex University as a visiting professor of ethics and regulation.
The fallout of the Football Index scandal saw regulatory focus shift as to how the Gambling Commission should be restructured and how its leadership body should maintain relationships with licensees.
In the aftermath of the football trading platform’s decline, which saw many former customers lose considerable sums of money, many commentators and gambling reform advocates were critical of the UKGC’s oversight, whilst the Commission has been further condemned for lacking sufficient regulatory power.
Despite the backlash, the UKGC maintained its policy agenda, which saw it launch its new ‘three-year corporate strategy’ that outlined the principal objectives of improving the industry’s consumer redress and enhancing customer affordability checks for gambling.