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17 October 2019 - Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners

Location: Victoria Square House, Birmingham (Boardroom)


  • Bill Moyes
  • John Baillie
  • Carol Brady
  • Stephen Cohen
  • Sarika Patel
  • Trevor Pearce
  • Jonathan Scott
  • Catharine Seddon

Executive directors:

  • Sarah Gardner
  • Paul Hope
  • Neil McArthur
  • Tim Miller
  • John Tanner
  • Helen Venn

In attendance:

  • (REDACTED) (Board Secretary)
  • Oliver Sweeney (Legal)
  • (REDACTED) (notes)
  • Plus attendees for specific items


  • Richard Watson

Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

1. Minutes, rolling actions, forward look and Chair’s business

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2019 were approved subject to the following amendments:

  • item 8.6, bullet point 4: amend from ‘The Commission does not have to wait before taking a policy position and would not wish for decisions to be taken in the absence of longitudinal evidence’ to ‘….. decisions to be deferred due to the absence of longitudinal evidence’.
  • items 4.2 and 4.3 – rewrite the text to make both points consistent.

The rolling actions were reviewed and updated.

The Board noted and welcomed the recent email from Tamsin Morgan around Stakeholder planning involving Commissioner participation. Commissioners would like to see meetings with High Impact Operators and visits to treatment centres on the plan. A request to be more proactive in asking Commissioners if they would like to attend events as they arise would also be fed back to the Comms Team.

The Board forward look was reviewed and updated.

Bill Moyes updated the Board on the Chair’s business, in particular:

  • Gambling with Lives (GwL) meeting had covered protecting vulnerable consumers and involving experts by experience
  • meeting with the DCMS Minister Helen Whately, MP had gone well and a follow-up would now be arranged
  • the new Permanent Secretary and Director Generals would be invited to visit the Commission.

Action: Comms/Governance to plan invites for the new Minister and officials to the Commission.

2. Resolution to amend the quorum provisions of the Corporate Governance Framework

The Board noted the paper.

The Board approved the proposed amendment to paragraph 14, Appendix 2 of the Corporate Governance Framework to set the quorum for Board as “three Commissioners including the Chairman or Senior Independent Director”.

Action: Governance to amend the quorum provisions and upload to the website.

3. Relationships between the Commission and its Advisory Bodies

The Chair welcomed Anna van der Gaag, (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) to the meeting.

Tim Miller presented the previously circulated slides.

The Board was supportive of the changes proposed to ways of working with the three Advisory Groups and the need to be more connected and transparent.

The three Advisory Group Chairs spoke to the Board highlighting particular points as follows:

Anna van der Gaag: Welcomed the opportunity to attend the Board meeting and to have improved collaboration across the Commission. Anna endorsed the proposal to enhance the contribution of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) to the organisation as a whole and to mitigate the threat of information sitting within teams alone rather than being circulated more widely and cited transparency as being the key to improving regulation. It was noted that the Assurance Statement workshops allow for the sharing of Assurance Statement content and good practice, and consideration was being given to what wider compliance operator information could be put into the public domain. Transparency is also important to drive interest and discussion.

(REDACTED): Welcomed the coming together as Advisory Groups to share similar experiences and different contexts and to better use the Advisory Groups to provoke broad discussion. This can however be tricky in terms of equilibrium and how the Groups and the Commission can be better pulled together needs thought and care taken around how the conversation is shifted.

(REDACTED): There is a real value in collaboration, for example the three speakers talking prior to the meeting generated a conversation around advertising that would not have otherwise occurred. The Groups need to have greater knowledge of the issues before they can add optimal value and transparency is key.

A broad Board discussion took place around points raised by the Chairs and subsequent topics.

4. Advice papers from the Digital Advisory Panel (DAP) and the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG)

The Board welcomed both papers.

This is the first occasion the Commission has brought both of the papers to Board which has been beneficial. The next step will be a single paper for both Groups.

The two aims of the session were: to give Commissioners the opportunity to ask Groups about the advice presented and to gain a steer from Commissioners on the papers and the Commission’s response to the advice.

5. Progress on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

The Board noted the paper, in particular:

  • the progress that has been made six months into the launch of the new Strategy, and some of the challenges
  • the Commission’s plans to further embed the Strategy across the Commission through the business planning process.

The Commission will embed the National Strategy across the Commission’s teams and to build it in as a requirement into the Ways of Working so it becomes part of everyone’s performance management.

The Chair queried if we could identify 5 or 6 things in the Strategy where DCMS could partner with us. This will be considered by the team.

6. Quarterly insight session: VIPs – online

The Head of Market Insight presented the previously circulated slides, with highlights as follows:

  • the data available cannot currently identify who is coded by an Operator as a VIP but does show that 1% of customers account for almost half of all deposits. If that figure is widened out to the largest 5% of active customers that becomes 68% of all deposits
  • between 0.4% and 0.7% of online customers on gaming products are losing >£5k per month
  • VIPs account for approximately 2.3% of all online problem gamblers, based on our lowest estimates
  • operators will define VIPs differently depending on a number of factors, for example positioning, products on offer, business model.

Next steps for Compliance are planned as follows:

  • Q4 - compliance engagement
  • assess VIP managers
  • investigate how VIP staff are remunerated
  • review offers/incentives given to VIP customers
  • review the checks and balances in place
  • how do VIP staff communicate with consumers
  • review relationships between VIP staff and consumers.

The Board were reminded we have recently changed our LCCP on customer interaction and referred Operators to the guidance, much of which references VIPs.

7. National Lottery Competition Committee update, including Commercial Strategy

John Tanner gave a verbal update.

Good progress is being made.

DCMS has been engaged throughout and we are getting the collaboration we need from them. We are continuing to test and work at pace.

Emerging themes are coming through around market engagement.

The slides on the Commercial strategy will be posted in the Diligent Board Reading Room after the meeting. The team has so far been looking at the strategy as to where we need to be in the weeks in the run up to launching the competition. The Strategy is now being brought up to date with DCMS and the Oversight Group, then will be developed for the full life of the licence.

8. 4NLC: Regulatory model and retention structure parameters for competition

4NLC Regulatory Model: the Board noted the paper.

Retention structure parameters for competition: the Board noted the paper.

9. Finance report

The Board noted the Finance.

Philip Lloyd left the meeting at this point.

10. Quarterly CEO report, including Board Performance Report

The Board noted the CEO report.

The Board noted the Board Performance Report.

Preventing harm to consumers and the public

There is a new internal indicator on Commission-led strategy actions. Category C and D action is being done but has been delayed. Commentary will be added to draw out that point.


Points covered in agenda items 7 and 8.

Raising standards

Licensing and compliance casework and land-based casino enforcement work continues to be high. There are an increased number of upcoming Regulatory Panels and predominantly complex cases. In relation to KPIs we have included external indicators this month and are still looking at better ways to report this. A RAG rating index for key internal indicators is available in the Diligent Board Reading Room.

Improve the way we regulate

Principally focusing on Corporate Services, it would be useful to know what the learnings from complaints are and to benchmark that against other regulators/Civil Service.

11. Any Other Business

Last night’s dinner and presentations were very good and welcomed by the Board.

12. Review of the meeting

The Board agreed that the meeting had been good and in particularly the combined Advisory Groups session combined with dinner the night before.

There is a need to look at repositioning of some Board agenda items at future meetings, for example, more information only items to go ‘below the line’.

13. Commissioner only session of the meeting

Not minuted.

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