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Raising Standards for consumers - Compliance and Enforcement report 2020 to 2021

The Gambling Commission's report on Compliance and Enforcement action 2020 to 2021. Archived: Report represents information and guidance valid at the time of publication.

Lessons learned

Businesses in administration

Increasingly the Commission has been regulating businesses which have entered into administration. Although this can be a challenging time for licensees, it remains the case that regulatory responsibilities continue and vest in the administrator.

In situations where an administrator is formally appointed, the expectations pass to them as the current licensee, and they must act swiftly to ensure they become fully cognisant of, and compliant with, their legal obligations to run a licensed gambling business. Failure to do so will result in action from the Commission and could result in suspension activity until compliance is ensured. The Commission appreciates this in itself can have a financial impact on the business, however we will do so where it is evident this action is required to ensure consumer protection.

If you are appointed an administrator for a licensed operator you need to inform us if you intend the business to continue to trade. You need to state who will have responsibility for overseeing operations, and if these people do not hold a personal licence or are not approved Annex A holders, they will need to apply for personal management licences (PMLs).

In addition, we will require:

  • copies of administrators' reports and must be notified if the company is placed into liquidation
  • evidence of the accounting records setting out customer funds held
  • other relevant information to help us properly assess potential consumer risks and impacts - such information may include copies of the bank statements for the bank account holding customer funds, detailed explanations of significant financial transactions in the period leading up to administration, or other information we believe relevant to our considerations.

Once the company is in administration, and they continue to trade, the administrator is responsible for ensuring the business complies with the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) and Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

Administrators are reminded that they:

  • must apply for and hold personal licences if the licensee is trading in administration or must have personal licence holders in place.
  • should make early proactive contact with the Commission to provide information about whether the business is going to continue to trade, who the personal licence holders are or will be, and any potential buyers of the business if the intention is to sell the business as a going Commission licensed concern. If administrators do not have access to eServices to do this by way of Key Event, they should do so by emailing (opens in new email)
  • should recognise that the licensee must continue to adhere to all the requirements of the Act and LCCP or run the risk of licence suspension.

The Commission requires administrators to, amongst other things, ensure they take care to organise and control affairs responsibly and effectively and have adequate systems and controls to minimise the risks to the licensing objectives. We require sufficient and appropriately experienced and competent individuals who hold PMLs to have oversight of the day to day running of the business.

Administrators should ensure that commercial considerations do not hinder regulatory responsibilities.

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