Who Will Be the UK Gambling Commission’s New Chairman? Analysing the Known Candidates

Gambling Commission LogoThe UK Gambling Commission has revealed its shortlist of contenders to be named Bill Moyes’s successor as chairperson of the regulator.

It is believed that four people are on the hitlist, although only three have been publicly named – Peter Selwyn Gummer, or Lord Chadlington as he is perhaps better known, Marcus Boyle and Anna van der Gaag.

The successful candidate will take the helm at a time of much upheaval for the Commission, who have come under increasing scrutiny for their failure to act in key cases – such as the collapse of Football Index.

The new chairperson will almost immediately need to appoint a successor to Andrew Rhodes as CEO, who has temporarily replaced Neil McArthur in the wake of his resignation.

There will also be the decision into who is granted the next National Lottery operating licence, and amidst all that there’s the uncertainty of the government’s review into the Gambling Act – what will be the ramifications of that to the industry and the Commission at large?

The regulator has launched their three-year corporate strategy in 2021, presumably to catch the eye of sceptical ministers and act as a reminder of the organisation’s relevance.

So, good luck to whoever wins the race to be named the new chairperson of the UK Gambling Commission – they might just need it! The new man or woman will be decided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with an announcement expected in the autumn.

What do we know about the three candidates so far?

Lord Chadlington

The Tory peer has been an active figure in the gambling sector.

He has campaigned prolifically for safer gambling protections and rules to be introduced, and lent his considerable name to the corporate pledge that saw a number of the UK sector’s major players – including Entain, Flutter, William Hill, bet365 and Sky Bet – agreeing to donate 1% of their gross yield to research and treatment into problem gambling.

Lord Chadlington also has his own charity, Action Against Gambling Harms, that acts as a pressure group to ensure that the corporate commitment, worth a reported £100 million a year to related services, is guaranteed.

A principle advocate of safer gambling, the Lord could be a more prominent figure on the frontline if confirmed as chairperson.

Anna van der Gaag

A visiting professor of ethics and regulation at Surrey University, Anna van der Gaag is also a key figure in the sector.

She is the chairperson of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, a position she has held since November 2018, and that’s an organisation that already advises the Commission on points of gambling harm and offers guidance in matters relating to research and treatment.

Speaking at the time of her appointment, Van der Gaag said: “Gambling related harms are increasingly recognised as a public health issue requiring robust collective action.

“I am thrilled by this opportunity to join a team with such a passionate commitment to understanding and reducing harms, and raising awareness of the personal and societal costs that can arise from gambling activities.”

Marcus Boyle

Something of an outlier in the contest, little is known of Marcus Boyle’s gambling sector credentials.

An economics graduate, Boyle has had a number of high-profile roles in business. He has served as a partner in the Arthur Andersen accountancy firm, and served the same role at Deloitte, working with some significant clients on their operations.

After retiring from his role at Deloitte, Boyle has served as the chairperson of the British American Drama Academy and is also the trustee of the Serpentine Gallery in London.

His connection to the gambling sector is unknown, although he has served as a consultant and partner in a number of charitable organisations. Boyle helmed the merger between the NSPCC and Childline, and was responsible for Deloitte’s charitable and community projects.

Boyle is described as an active sportsperson, although it remains to be seen whether that – and not a lack of experience in the betting industry – will be a factor in the ultimate decision as to who is appointed chairperson of the UK Gambling Commission.