Enforcement policy in relation to the National Lottery
7 - Publication of decisions and the reasons for decisions
Openness and transparency are central to our work. Publication of details of our work in enforcement plays an important role in improving compliance in and beyond the licensed community, and in increasing confidence in us as a regulator.
General approach to publication in cases where the investigation is ongoing
In making decisions on publication in enforcement cases, we will at all times bear in mind the public interest, and we will act compatibly with the right to privacy enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Generally, we will limit the release of information about on-going regulatory investigations, only releasing details if we have determined that it is in the public interest to do so. This protects the integrity of investigations and protects the operator from being unfairly associated with unsubstantiated allegations.
This means that generally we will only announce publicly that we are investigating a matter in exceptional circumstances; we will only make such an announcement if we consider it is desirable to:
- maintain public confidence in the National Lottery or the regulation thereof
- protect players
- prevent or deter widespread malpractice
- help the investigation itself, for example by bringing forward witnesses
- maintain the smooth operation of the National Lottery.
In deciding whether to make an announcement, we will consider the potential prejudice that may be caused to the operator who is or is likely to be, subject to investigation and weigh this against the benefits of making an announcement.
The exceptional circumstances referred to above may arise where the matters under investigation have become the subject of public concern, speculation or rumour. In this case it may be desirable for us to make public the fact of investigation in order to allay concern, or contain speculation or rumour.
We will not normally publish details of the information found or conclusions reached during the course of our investigations. In many cases, restrictions on the disclosure of information obtained by us in the course of exercising our functions are likely to prevent publication. These restrictions may include disclosing someone's confidential or legally privileged information or prejudicing other investigations or legal proceedings.
In exceptional circumstances, and where we are not prevented from doing so, we may publish details. Circumstances in which we may do so include those where the fact that we are investigating has been made public, by ourselves or otherwise, and we subsequently conclude that the concerns that prompted the investigation were unwarranted. This is particularly so if the operator wishes for us to clarify the matter.
General approach to publication in enforcement cases once a formal regulatory decision has been taken
However, once a formal regulatory decision has been taken, such as the imposition of a financial penalty, or revocation of a licence, we will ordinarily publish all such decisions in full, even if a decision is subject to appeal. Such publication will take place 14 days after a decision has been taken. Even if a regulatory settlement has been reached, such decisions will ordinarily be published.
Removal of notices
As stated previously, publicity is important to ensure the transparency of our decision-making; it informs the public and helps to maximise the deterrent effect of enforcement action. Notwithstanding that, we will upon request review any compliance or enforcement-related notices that are published on our website. We will determine whether continued publication is appropriate, or whether such notices should be removed or amended.
In carrying out the review we will consider all relevant factors. In particular, we will take into account:
- the seriousness of the misconduct
- the nature of the action taken by us and the level of any sanction imposed
- whether we have continuing concerns in respect of the operator and any risk they might pose to the National Lottery objectives
- whether the publication sets out our expectations regarding behaviour in a particular area
- whether that message still has educative value and the public interest in the case (both at the time and subsequently)
- whether continued publication is necessary for deterrence or consumer protection reasons
- how much time has passed since publication
- any representations made by the operator on the continuing impact on them of the publication.
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Enforcement policy in relation to the National Lottery - 8 - Other information
Last updated: 9 May 2022
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