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Request date: 29 December 2022
This version was printed or saved on: 30 May 2023
Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/freedomofinformation/royalux-competitions
Please accept this email as a formal request under the Freedom of information Act for a copy of all information the Gambling Commission has recorded / stored, surrounding complaints received regarding Royalux Competitions.
Please forward on any and all information/complaints you have received via email and written, also including any record of calls made.
Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
In your email you have requested all information the Gambling Commission has recorded / stored, surrounding complaints received regarding Royalux Competitions.
Firstly, it should be noted that the FOIA provides the public with a right of access to information that is held by a Public Authority, with the intention of putting that information into the public domain. Information that is disclosed to the public via this route is considered to be released to the world at large and therefore any information that is provided in response to a request, processed under the FOIA, can be released to anyone who asks for it. Responses to FOIA requests are routinely published and hence publicly available. In addition, requests for information received under the FOIA have to be processed as ‘applicant blind’. This means that we do not take into account who has requested the information.
Further to this, the Gambling Commission are an industry regulator and not an ombudsman. Our role is to consider if a gambling business has breached their licence conditions and we will take regulatory action where appropriate. We do not become involved in or “act upon” individual complaints.
We use evidence from a range of places, including from gambling customers, to build cases against gambling businesses. Information provided to us helps inform our work to raise gambling industry standards and make gambling fairer and safer. Information drawn from complaints raised against operators may be used by the Commission to inform our regulatory approach and determine whether any action may be necessary.
If we have sufficient information about an issue with an operator that we feel needs to be pursued, we will commence a dialogue with the operator.
The Commission is a regulatory body with licensing, compliance and enforcement functions; through our regulatory activity, the Commission aims to protect consumers and the wider public, and to raise standards in the gambling industry. We release details of our enforcement activity through public statements
The public statements will detail the nature of the failings by the operator and the amount of the fine or settlement. Further to this, the Commission also publishes a list of recent regulatory sanctions we have imposed on licence holders.
When we publish these statements and sanctions, we take care to present as much information as possible to ensure that lessons can be learned by operators. However, we must also be careful not to reveal any information that could hinder our ability to conduct investigations or enable those we may investigate to avoid detection.
The Gambling Commission do not provide comment on any information held regarding specific operators, unless it is in the public interest to do so. As such, we are unable to confirm or deny whether we hold any information within the scope of your request. Section 31(3) of the FOIA (Law Enforcement) exemption applies.
Section 31(3) (“Law Enforcement”) provides that the duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that compliance with section 1(1)(a) would or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
Having acknowledged that the Commission is not able to confirm or deny whether we hold any information within the scope of your request; section 31 of the FOIA requires that we consider a public interest test to identify whether there is a wider public interest in fulfilling this request as opposed to maintaining the exemption.
Arguments in favour of disclosure
We acknowledge that there is a legitimate public interest in promoting the accountability and transparency of the Commission. It is important that there is sufficient information in the public domain, so consumers have an understanding of the regulatory activity that the Commission is taking with specific operators to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their choice of operator.
Arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption
Confirming or denying information which makes specific individuals or events identifiable could alert individuals involved to the fact that the Commission was/is or alternatively wasn’t/isn’t investigating a particular case and provide them with an opportunity to alter their behaviours or evade detection. This would result in making it more difficult for the Commission to achieve its aims.
Further to this, simply confirming or denying this request for information would impact on the openness of stakeholders when sharing important information with us or other law enforcement agencies. The amount of information released is carefully considered in order to protect the integrity of investigations and individuals or operators from being unfairly associated with unsubstantiated allegations.
Finally, only once or if a formal regulatory decision has been made or there is agreement of a regulatory settlement the Commission will ordinarily publish all such decisions in full. Fulfilling this request may prejudice the outcome of any future investigation by the Commission, or another body, to the detriment of the public interest.
Weighing the balance
Given the points considered, the Commission believes that the interests of the public are better served through maintaining the exemption, therefore we are not in a position to confirm or deny whether we hold any information in relation to your request
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.
Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.
If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.
The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Information Management Team
Victoria Square House
Birmingham B2 4BP