To save £1 million, the gambling regulator in the UK may introduce job redundancies. The UKGC has been previously criticized for its effectiveness because of underfunding.
Job Cuts Planned by the UK Regulator
The UK Gambling Commission may introduce employee redundancies, reported the Guardian last week. The regulator which currently has some 332 employees may proceed with job cuts to save £1 million. Previously the Gambling Commission has been criticized for failing to regulate the industry mainly because it has been underfunded.
With that in mind, it’s up to the regulator to ensure that the gambling industry is following the rules with an annual budget of £19 million. In contrast, the industry in the country receives some £14 billion per annum from gamblers. On previous occasions, the regulator itself has admitted that it needs an increase in terms of funding.
But according to the commission, the reduction of workforce is ultimately aiming at increasing the processing speed and ease the methods of operation. A spokesperson for the commission said: “Over the past few months we have been talking to colleagues about some changes we must make to meet the challenges ahead, which will affect how we organize ourselves in some areas.” The spokesperson added that the regulator is currently going through the process and discussing its issues related to the funding with the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).
Will Employee Redundancies Help the Regulator?
A spokesperson for the DCMS acknowledged that the body is working closely with the regulator for the last 18 months. According to the spokesperson, the planned outcome is to introduce strict measures that protect people from gambling-related harm. Among the planned changes we see stricter age identification, restriction of the use of credit cards as well as limiting bets for slot games, and more. “But we have been clear that we will take further action if necessary, including reviewing the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age,” added the DCMS spokesperson.
Keeping in mind that the DCMS and the Gambling Commission share the same thought about increasing the protection of players, the bodies have been criticized previously for their effectiveness. Back in June, a report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee criticized the two bodies for having “unacceptably weak understanding” for gambling harm. The report outlined some 395,000 people in the UK were identified as problem gamblers. Further, 1.8 million people were deemed “at-risk”.
Upon revealing the report in June, Meg Hillier MP and chair of the committee said: “What has emerged in evidence is a picture of a torpid, toothless regulator that doesn’t seem terribly interested in either the harms it exists to reduce or the means it might use to achieve that.“
More recently, Hillier expressed doubt that job cuts in the Gambling Commission can achieve the goal to reduce gambling harm in the UK. She added that both the DCMS and the Gambling Commission need to set performance targets and create the relevant plan which can ensure that those targets are met.