After a lengthy recruitment process, the UK Gambling Commission has revealed that Marcus Boyle is the man they have chosen to lead the regulatory into potentially choppy waters.
The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, revealed the appointment on Thursday, handing Boyle the reins for the next five years.
Boyle comes from a managerial background and has stacks of experience leading both public and private sector firms. His last role has not been detailed, although it’s said he undertook a significant reform of a public sector body – that will set the scene nicely for the work he will surely have to do in repairing the damaged reputation of the Commission.
He was also a senior figure in the global professional services firm Deloitte, where he acted at various times as board member, chief strategy officer and chief operating officer. Boyle has since resigned from the board.
A chair of the British American Drama Academy, Boyle may need to call upon any ability he has picked up in acting as the Commission awaits news of its future in the government’s upcoming review of the Gambling Act.
At least he can call upon the support of the Betting and Gaming Council, one of the key independent bodies in the game. Their chairwoman, Brigid Simmonds, said:
“As part of our continued commitment to ever higher standards on safer gambling, the BGC will continue to work with the Gambling Commission, as well as with the Government on their evidence-led Gambling Review.”
An Uncertain Future
Whether they intended the information to be made public or not, it is now common knowledge that ministers are considering the role of the Gambling Commission as it plots a change in landscape for the sector.
The Gambling Act review, the results of which are expected to be published later this year, is expected to herald a major sea-change – particularly in online casino gaming and sports betting.
A balance between ‘the enjoyment people get from gambling with the right regulatory framework and protections’ has been one of the stated aims, and that could yet lead to tighter restrictions with potential loss limits and affordability checks to be introduced.
From a regulatory perspective, a number of key industry figures have called for the creation of an independent ombudsman – a move which might see the future role of the Commission brought into question.
To that end, Boyle will have a key role in persuading decision-makers that the regulator does have a part to play in the governance of the betting industry. He brings with him experience of transformation and reform, and he will need to call on that past if he is to herald a bright new future for the beleaguered sector body.
A qualified accountant, Boyle will also make sure that the books are balanced – a quest aided by the huge £5.8 million fine that the Commission dished out to Daub Alderney this week for their alleged social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings. The Rank Group, the firm’s parent company, have declared their intention to appeal.