The acting head of the U.K. Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes, has been appointed to the position on a permanent basis.
The commission named Rhodes acting chief executive in June 2021, after the sudden resignation of Neil McArthur and the temporary appointment of Sarah Gardner.
Rhodes, who received an 18-month contract, plans a sterner approach as expected reforms of gambling legislation take center stage this year. The commission would take on any gambling company that violated the conditions of their license more than once.
“I have a concern that those operators are starting to see fines as a compliance measure, that is something that we are not prepared to tolerate.”
Gambling must be fair, crime-free and protect the vulnerable from harm. In an ideal world, the Commission would have little to do beyond licensing operators. But that is far from the case.”
He also accused the industry of overstating its claim that draconian reforms can drive gamblers to the black market.
“We are not going to be deflected away from that mission, in some sort of race to the bottom because someone else is worse,” said Rhodes. “That’s the whole point of having a regulated market.”
As chief executive, Rhodes will lead the way for two key moments: the gambling review and coordinating the bidding contest for the Fourth National Lottery License, choosing whether incumbent Camelot or challengers Allwyn, Sisal and Northern & Shell Group will secure the 10-year contract.
Rhodes served as a former director of operations at the Department for Work and Pensions and also served as chief operating officer of the Food Standards Agency. He was also chief operating officer of Swansea University, his alma mater, and chair of the community trust at Swansea City football club.
In 2020, Swansea City became the highest-profile club in the U.K. to drop a betting company as its sponsor, amid a broader campaign to disentangle gambling from football.