In a move aimed at diversifying its leadership and expertise, the Gambling Commission has appointed seven new commissioners, none of whom come from a traditional gambling background. The depth of experience and insight from disciplines including law, regulation, health, finance, and public service that these individuals bring to the commission should make it better able to uphold its mandate of promoting consumer protection and responsible gaming.

Appointed by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, these new commissioners are tasked with helping the commission fulfill its licensing objectives among other commission duties.

Why Now?

The Gambling Commission has taken some heat in the past for what some have called a lack of gambling industry knowledge. For example, Andrew Black, co-founder of Betfair, has recommended that the commission take cues from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whose board includes several individuals with financial expertise. Black was worried that the Gaming Commission would develop a “commonality of thinking” that wasn’t in line with the industry due to its makeup and lack of gambling expertise.

The new commissioners, whose appointments started in September, have extensive professional backgrounds. Sheree Howard, an executive director from the FCA, contributes her financial acumen. Charles Counsell and Dr. Helen Phillips both have backgrounds in regulation and health, respectively. Lloydette Bai-Marrow, Helen Dodds, and Claudia Mortimore come with legal expertise, and David Rossington, a former civil servant, had been serving in an interim role on the commission’s board since the start of the year.

It is safe to assume that the Industry Forum, a group started by commission head Marcus Boyle in September, will get even more attention thanks to the entry of additional commissioners.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, welcomed the new commissioners and emphasized the critical timing of their appointments, highlighting the progress made in safer gambling practices in recent years. He encouraged the new commissioners to engage with industry stakeholders and gain a deeper understanding of the diverse and complex gambling sector to continue raising standards and promoting safer gambling.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Gambling Commission to keep raising standards, promote safer gambling, and ensure the voices of punters and those who work in our industry are heard.”

As the country’s gaming market continues to evolve it will be very interesting to see how this move will impact the future of regulation and responsible gaming.