The president of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is stepping down, leaving the UK’s gambling regulator without a CEO at a time when the government is overhauling the industry’s laws. Neil McArthur resigned on Monday with immediate effect, and a process for an interim CEO is underway.
UKGC CEO Neil McArthur Resigns
The UK Gambling Commission’s chief executive has resigned and left the UK’s gambling regulator without a man at the helm amid a government overhaul of the sector’s rules. Neil McArthur stepped down with immediate effect, and a hunt for an interim CEO will begin soon.
His resignation comes at a crucial time for the regulator, which has been chastised for being understaffed and struggling to respond to the growth of online and mobile gaming, in part due to a lack of government support.
McArthur ran the Commission at a time when there was growing concern about the gambling industry’s conduct, especially stakeholders’ use of so-called VIP schemes, as well as the effect of gambling ads on young and disadvantaged people and its ties to football. He pioneered efforts to curb VIP programs, restrict credit card gaming, and tighten advertising and game design rules for online casinos.
The UKGC has declared additional restrictions for gaming operators in the United Kingdom. The commission is looking to protect young populations and exclude anyone under the age of 25 from participating in online gambling VIP programs.
New Challenges, New Solutions
Following the crash of the Football Index last week, the Gambling Commission came under fire. On Monday, March 8, the so-called “football stock exchange” announced a transition to its dividend scheme before announcing its administration on Friday.
The Gambling Commission then revoked the operator’s remote betting license. McArthur worked for the regulator for nearly 15 years, acting as both general counsel and chief executive from 2018.
McArthur had this to add, elaborating on his professional involvement with the industry: “I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organization.”
The executive commended the tremendous work that has gone into making gambling fairer and safer over the years, and he argued that the UKGC is in a good position to take on any new challenges.
Sarah Gardner, the regulator’s deputy chief executive, and Sally Jones, its chief operating officer, will take over as acting chief executives. However, before a new chair is appointed, no permanent chief executive can be employed.
This comes at a particularly fraught period for the gambling industry on the island as contrasting opinions seek to introduce varying restrictions. The current review is conducted by John Whittingdale, who is known as a polarizing figure for his qualified endorsement of FOBTs and overall leniency on the industry.