In what Brian Pomeroy, the chairman of the U.K. Gambling Commission, called a “difficult year,” the commission’s annual report recommends merger with the National Lottery Commission.
Accordingly, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which oversees each board, will examine how to complete the merger, which would “improve efficiency while preserving appropriate and effective regulation of both sectors.”
“We already work closely with (the National Lottery Commission) on research and responsible gambling issues and would expect any such merger to offer scope for further synergies and some improved cost-effectiveness,” Jenny Williams, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said in the commission’s annual report.
A spokesman for the Lottery Commission said it is imperative that the government provide adequate funding for the merged commission so integrity can be maintained.
The proposal is part of a larger plan by the DCMS to eliminate 55 public bodies to save money.
The NLC spent £4.8 million last year regulating its one licensee, lottery operator Camelot Group, which was recently purchased by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
The budget of the Gambling Commission, which receives revenue from license fees, was down 3.9 percent to £12.4 million, but it still ran a deficit of £800,000.
Pomeroy says the next year will also be difficult.
“Consolidation, contraction and closures within the industry, as well as some operators moving offshore, have reduced our expected fee income,” he said. “The next 12 months will be even more challenging with pressure to become more effective—for example, to combat sports betting corruption and other types of illegal gambling while reducing the overall cost of regulation, and working with the National Lottery Commission on the proposed merger.”