UK

Gambling watchdog chief steps down after just two years

Gambling watchdog chief steps down after just two years amid major review of the industry’s practices

  • Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur has resigned from his role
  • Comes during middle of Government review to protect vulnerable gamblers
  • McArthur was promoted to chief executive of the commission in April 2018

The boss of the gambling watchdog has resigned in the middle of a major Government review.

Neil McArthur, who was promoted to chief executive of the Gambling Commission in April 2018, said that ‘now feels the right time to step away’.

His surprise departure comes at a vital moment for the industry which is facing the biggest shake-up in its laws in over 15 years.

Neil McArthur (pictured), who was promoted to chief executive of the Gambling Commission in April 2018, said that ‘now feels the right time to step away’

The commission, a quango linked to the Culture Department, is also leading on a series of proposals designed to protect vulnerable gamblers from harm online. 

The numbers of those gambling online has rocketed in lockdown. 

Mr McArthur said the commission had taken ‘significant steps to make gambling fairer and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position’.

However, campaigners fear the loss of an experienced regulator could lead to a watering down of reforms.

The commission, a quango linked to the Culture Department, is also leading on a series of proposals designed to protect vulnerable gamblers from harm online. The numbers of those gambling online has rocketed in lockdown (stock image)

The commission, a quango linked to the Culture Department, is also leading on a series of proposals designed to protect vulnerable gamblers from harm online. The numbers of those gambling online has rocketed in lockdown (stock image)

One industry figure said: ‘How on earth could you make big changes with no chief executive?’

In the last three years the Commission has banned gambling on credit cards, imposed tougher age verification checks to stop children betting online and forced changes to online slot game design.

But Mr McArthur has been attacked by critics for being too conciliatory towards the industry and failing to impose harsh punishments when companies broke the law – while figures within the industry have accused him of attempting to demonise gambling.

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