Gambling Commission licenses and regulates the people and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain including the National Lottery. Gambling Commissioner permits gambling as far as it is reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives of preventing gambling from becoming a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or support crime; ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Meeting date: 22 February 2017

Matters Discussed:

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) outlined the Gambling Commission’s statutory responsibilities to regulate commercial gambling operators and the National Lottery.

The Victims’ Commissioner asked the CEO to outline how the Victims’ Code would apply to any criminal activity that the Gambling Commission would handle. The CEO explained that the Commission has access to criminal and civil powers and that the majority of work was undertaken using civil powers. However, to illustrate the application of the Victims Code in a criminal context, the CEO recounted a very recent case where the Commission had taken action against an illegal betting website operator. In this case a young victim had been drawn into illegal gambling using a form of ‘virtual currency’ known as ‘skins betting’. The parents of the young person had made a complaint to the Commission which had contributed to the case against the operator. While it was difficult to be sure, it was likely that there were many other young victims. The CEO explained how the principles of the Victims’ Code were applied during the prosecution, especially with regard to contact between the Gambling Commission and the victim’s parents who were acting on his behalf. The Gambling Commission provided online support for the parents and victim to ensure that they would not be left in a similar position again.

The VC was keen to find out when else the Gambling Commission might apply the Victims’ Code. The CEO explained that their role also included ‘land-based’ commercial gambling services, when in appropriate circumstances the Commission would work with the police to support victims of crimes such as Money Laundering. They will work together with the police who are likely to be the lead agency, looking at the best ways to build the case, and protect the victim from any further harm by the offender(s).

This is supported through all investigators at the Gambling Commission being trained on the Victims’ Code and its principles. This includes working closely with the police and drawing on their capability to use their video live links when needed, and making sure victims are kept up to date as required. The Gambling Commission also has access to a police translator and interpreter service should they be needed.