Sarah Harrison, CEO of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, has held her position since October 2015 and is meant to officially step down at the end of this month. This didn’t stop Harrison from delivering a strongly worded and powerful speech at the World Regulatory Briefing and International Casino Conference on Monday, which precedes ICE 2018.
Her speech was titled ‘Is Responsible Gambling Enough?’ and Harrison certainly didn’t hold back anything when answering this question. One of the only positives that Harrison had to say with regards to the industry in the speech is that she can sense that the industry truly does want to change, and these are some of the changes that Harrison pointed out:
Sexism Problem in the Industry
Harrison pointed out the controversial topic of sexism in the gambling industry by stating that just by walking around the exhibition grounds she noticed men wearing suits but all the women of the industry were pressured to wear skimpy outfits. Harrison urged industry professionals to start leaving sexism in the past or it would hinder the future of the business, hinting that gambling didn’t cater for women as much as it did for men.
Potential Lack of Funding in the Future
Harrison also voiced her concerns about the potential lack of funding in the industry and how profits were being spent. The industry currently funds a charity called GambleAware but she says it has continued to miss its financial targets and in the future will need to fund further harm-prevention methods and take gambling addictions more seriously. She said that GambleAware was a project that was truly needed for research and prevention of problem gambling.
Customer Service Needs to Come First
Like a wizened headmistress, Harrison reprimanded the industry at large for letting customer service standards slide. Harrison shared that she felt customers had been let down because of the lack of transparency and true reality of the risks of some of the industry’s most popular products. She stated her feelings about the need to bring in an accountability website, much like Tripadvisor, where customers could leave honest reviews and potential customers could get a better idea of products from the real-life reviews.
Sarah Harrison definitely went out with a bang and her impressive speech impacted the audience to great effect. She truly made her views known and called for greater action to be taken with regards to detecting harmful and unhealthy play in its early stages as well as restructuring and reshaping the entire industry model.