The acting boss of the UK gambling regulatory body is set to be given the position on a permanent basis. The appointment is to show the approval of the Government for his pledge to impose stricter measures on what he described as “recidivist behaviours’ of gambling operators before the announcement of the authorities’ landmark industry review.
Andrew Rhodes occupied the position of acting Chief Executive Officer of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in June 2021, after the unexpected resignation of Neil McArthur from the job.
Since then, Mr Rhodes has hinted at plans to adopt a more stringent approach that would comply with the expected reforms of the country’s gambling laws, which are currently being subject to an extensive review of the UK Government. The results and recommendations of the still ongoing review are expected to be officially published by the authorities in a white paper early in 2022.
During a speech in December 2021, Andrew Rhodes explained that the UK Gambling Commission would adopt a stricter line of regulation in terms of companies that violated their operating licence conditions more than once. At the time, he vowed to crack down on gambling operators’ recidivist behaviours towards compliance. At the time, he also noted that the country’s gambling sector had strongly exaggerated its repeated warnings that British customers would be driven towards the black unregulated market if the watchdog takes a too strict approach in its regulatory work.
Mr Rhodes, however, believes that stringent regulation was the whole point of having a regulated market.
DCMS Minister Expected to Imminently Confirm Rhodes’ Permanent Appointment
As reported by The Guardian, the tone of Mr Rhodes in terms of the future regulatory approach of the UKGC has been well received not only within the watchdog’s own structures but also by the Government, with Nadine Dorries, who is the Secretary of State of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), expected to confirm his permanent appointment at the CEO position, on a £150,000 salary.
When this happens, Andrew Rhodes will be the one to oversee two of the most crucial moments in the history of the UK Gambling Commission – the results of the Government-held gambling industry review and the strong competition for the fourth National Lottery operating licence.
Mr Rhodes once took the position of director of operations at the Department for Work and Pensions. He also served as the Food Standards Agency’s chief operating officer. Rhodes also occupied the COO position at his alma mater, Swansea University, as well as the chair position at Swansea City football club’s community trust. In 2020, Swansea City F.C. became the highest-profile club in the country to dispose of a gambling operator serving as its main sponsor, amid a massive campaign aimed at cutting the strong ties between football and gambling.