Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission, announces his resignation

Posted on March 16, 2021

The UK Gambling Commission has announced that Neil McArthur has resigned from duties as Chief Executive of the regulator. He ends his time at the UKGC with 15 years of service under his belt. He spent two years as the Chief Executive and the rest of his term at the Commission as legal counsel.

Under his tenure as Chief Executive, he oversaw many modernising policies, especially for the online betting sector. As the esports betting industry, an online industry, rocketed in popularity over the past few years, McArthur has attempted to stay on top of the growth.

A report from the UKGC reveals a remarkable year-on-year growth of 2992% of the UK esports betting industry over just a few months in the middle of 2020. As such, he has overseen a massive expansion of the countries betting market.

Comments from the UKGC

Neil McArthur commented on his resignation:

“I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges. 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.”

Bill Moyes, Chairman of the UK Gambling Commission added:

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission. A lot has been achieved during his time here and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as Chief Executive.”

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McArthur and Esports

Back in 2016 when he was just a General Counsel at the Gambling Commission, Neil MacArthur spoke about his concerns with the esports betting world:

“We are also concerned about betting on eSports. Like any other market, we expect operators offering markets on eSports to manage the risks – including the significant risk that children and young people may try to bet on such events given the growing popularity of eSports with those who are too young to gamble.”

Just a couple of years later, he had come around to the importance of esports betting and had made sure that betting on esports would be treated no differently as betting on any other live event. They recognised that if esports was given the same protections that traditional sportsbooks had, they would also fall under the same regulations and controls. This gave both the betting operators and their customers a greater sense of protection and security.

The future of the UKGC and esports in the UK

One of the reasons that McArthur resigned was the review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The current Gambling Act is now 16 years behind the times and did not think about the expansion of online gambling or even consider the impact of esports betting. Now that DCMS undersecretary John Whittingdale is running the review there could be greater controls and regulations on the online betting market in the UK. We could see more controls on what companies could sponsor events or even the age at which you could gamble increase.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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