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UK Gambling Commission head steps down amid government review into the sector

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur is stepping down after less than three years in the role, the regulator announced today. McArthur has served at the commission for almost 15 years, joining as general counsel in 2006. He was appointed to the top job in April 2018.

His surprise departure comes at a crucial time for the gambling watchdog, as the sector awaits the outcome of a government review into UK gambling laws.

The Gambling Commission is also overseeing the tender process for the National Lottery licence and has come under criticism for a number of controversies within the industry, including the recent collapse of betting platform Football Index.

“With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new chief executive to lead the Commission on the next stage in its journey,” McArthur said in a statement.

The regulator said it will shortly begin recruiting for an interim chief executive. A permanent replacement will then be chosen by the successor to current chairman Bill Moyes, whose term of office ends later this year.

Deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones will jointly lead the commission while the recruitment process is underway.

McArthur’s tenure at the Gambling Commission has been dominated by the shift to an increasingly digital gambling market, as well as closer scrutiny of the sector amid fears about rising gambling addiction across the UK.

He has overseen a number of industry reforms, including banning the use of credit cards for gambling, enhancing age verification checks and new rules requiring built-in protections for online gambling products.

Image: Neil McArthur