This week, there was a speculated debate regarding the UK Gambling Commission’s new chair after the Sunday Times published short-listed candidates. The new governor will overtake responsibility for all British casino gambling online and land-based.
According to the newspaper, the suggested names include Marcus Boyle, Dr. Anna van der Gaag, Lord Chadlington, alongside an internal candidate. This internal candidate is presumed to be a present commissioner as opposed to a regulatory officer. It is believed that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was considering each of these candidates.
Mr. Boyle, The Top Candidate, Based on Elimination
If we were to attach any truth to these speculations, we must assume that the possible front runner is Mr. Boyle. Lord Chadlington, although a very charming individual who has the correct beliefs on issues relating to gambling, may not be the ideal fit. This is because he has built his career around PR messaging, but the market regulator needs leadership instead.
He may also have problems showing that he could ensure adequate detachment and be viewed as independent. This is because he actively lobbied in the press and parliament on gambling regulation issues and developed his charity known as Action Against Gambling Harms.
Dr. Anna van der Gaag, also named by the Sunday Times, is the present Advisory Board for Safer Gambling’s chair. He too, does not have a reputation that shows independence and tends to need to command the confidence of organisations and companies in the gambling sector while having respect and compassion within the consumer landscape. During the time Dr van der Gaag led the ABSG, which used to be known as the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, it isolated itself from the gambling sector. This was probably based on the assumption that it was easier to rubbish organisations that one has no information about. Any internal candidate may also suffer from the concept that they were part of the chaotic performance of the regulator under Bill Moyes, the outgoing chair.
Now, this leaves us with Marcus Boyle from the list of possible runners. Boyle used to be part of the board members of Deloitte, the advisory firm. He was also a London Serpentine Gallery’s trustee and chair of the British American Dance Academy. The fact that he dabbles in arts may be a sign that he is more interested in consumer enjoyment as opposed to the current chair.
Other Reasons Mr. Boyle is the Best Fit
Even better is that Boyle knows the need for strategic clarity since he was Deloitte’s head of charity. And this is a quality that has not been present in the Commission in recent years. Recently, the regulator has released numerous strategy documents, including Safer Gambling Strategy, Three Year Strategy, ABSG Strategy Report, and Business Plan.
These strategies lacked any structure or detail to bring the numerous stakeholders constructively and address the obvious challenges. Also, there was no actual effort placed in honestly evaluating the strategic process. This is the issue that the Commission’s new chair will have to face, regardless of who is chosen.