ICE London: UK Gambling Commission says, “We can learn from colleagues in North America”

February 6, 2024 2:05 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, CDC Gaming Reports
February 6, 2024 2:05 PM
  • Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom

UK Gambling Commission (GC) Executive Director Tim Miller has highlighted the regulator’s increased collaboration with other jurisdictions, including the U.S.

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Speaking at the World Regulatory Briefing at ICE Vox Tuesday morning, Miller said, “There’s a huge amount that we here in Europe can learn from colleagues in North America. If you go back to when we first started regulating online gambling, it was a fairly new thing. The technology was quite different from what we have now.

“In North America, they’re developing systems with a very different set of technology with AI and things like that in the background. There’s an opportunity for us to learn from them as they develop those models and apply that to our existing approach to regulation.”

The U.S. isn’t the only jurisdiction that the GC has been cooperating with. However, Miller was clear that the scale of the U.S. market makes it critical to regulatory collaboration going forward.

“North America is particularly important for us to work with for a number of reasons. One is that as a market that is increasingly opening up, there are clearly opportunities for us as more established markets to share our learning, share the things that we’ve got right and things that we’ve got wrong, so that those can help inform development of regulation”, he said.

Miller also pointed out that while the UK has historically been a leading regulatory voice in the development of gambling regulation around the world, the emergence of regulated jurisdictions in the U.S. means that the UK is unlikely to remain the largest online-gaming market in the world.

“Candidly, that will change as more and more states in North America come online”, Miller explained. “Particularly, if you start getting some of the really big states bringing in online gambling, we will be a small regulator in the grand scheme of things. So ensuring that we have strong partnerships with regulators in those really big jurisdictions will ensure that we continue to be seen as an authoritative voice.”

Despite this though, Miller doesn’t see a need for unified global gambling regulation. He explained that, while there are areas where a different approach isn’t needed, such as tackling the illegal market, a one-size fits all regulation is not appropriate.

“I’m not sure whether any of us are really seeking to have a single unified approach to regulation across the world. I’m not sure it’s ever possible, because the strongest regulatory systems are those that recognise the unique circumstances in the countries that they operate in. If you look across the world and the way that gambling is delivered in different countries, that can tell you a huge amount about that country. The way that gambling is regulated and delivered has got to reflect the cultural norms of the jurisdiction, it’s got to reflect what consumers want.”

Miller also touched on the financial-risk checks that are to be piloted in the UK as part of the regulatory reforms arising out of last year’s white paper.

Describing it as “probably the most significant policy issue”, he said that given the complexity of the challenge, he didn’t expect sweeping regulatory changes to enact financial-risk checks, but that there would instead be a pilot phase to test the technology.

“We can look at the mechanics of this. Is it delivering what we expect it to deliver? What’s the impact on consumers? We want to make progress on that, but we want to do that in a sensible and deliberate way, making sure that industry credit-reference agencies, all of the others that are involved, are able to come along with us.”

He added that the testing of the technology, with a view to introducing financial-risk checks as a matter of course in the industry, was “breaking new ground”.