Lotteries Council Annual Conference: Sarah Gardner’s Speech Highlights

sarah gardners speach highlights

Sarah Gardner, Deputy Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, addressed attendees at the Lotteries Council Annual Conference on 23 May 2024. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to provide an update on the Gambling Commission’s activities, especially regarding the Society Lotteries sector. Gardner acknowledged the hard work of her colleagues, Claire, Louise, and Joanne, who conducted workshops during the conference.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. Gambling Act Review Implementation
    • Gardner highlighted the progress made in implementing the Gambling Act Review following the Government’s White Paper in April last year.
    • She outlined the importance of these changes for the lotteries sector and detailed other ongoing changes within the Commission that impact the sector.
  2. New Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB)
    • Gardner introduced the first wave of official statistics using the new GSGB methodology.
    • The survey, conducted with 4,801 adults from July to November 2023, revealed that 48% participated in gambling activities in the last four weeks, with 16% involved in lotteries excluding the National Lottery.
    • She emphasized the comprehensive development process of GSGB, involving significant resources and consultations with industry experts, academics, and policymakers.
  3. Statistics and Sector Impact
    • Gardner shared key statistics from the GSGB, noting the importance of the society lotteries sector in raising funds for good causes.
    • In the year to March 2023, large Society Lotteries raised £421.7 million for good causes, a 14.6% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
  4. Consultation Responses and Direct Marketing Measures
    • Gardner discussed the outcomes of the first round of consultations published last summer, covering topics such as financial risk, remote games design, and direct marketing.
    • She highlighted the significant feedback from the lotteries sector, which led to excluding them from new direct marketing requirements.
  5. Regulatory Returns
    • The Gambling Commission will now collect Regulatory Returns data quarterly from all operators, starting 1 July 2024.
    • Gardner emphasized the importance of these changes in improving data collection and regulatory outcomes.
  6. Corporate Strategy: Gambling Regulation in a Digital Age
    • Gardner outlined the Commission’s new Corporate Strategy, focusing on using data and analytics to enhance regulation, setting evidence-based requirements, and tackling illegal gambling.
    • She noted the Commission’s efforts in shutting down illegal lotteries, with 452 cease and desist notices issued in 2023, resulting in significant disruptions.

Looking Forward

Gardner concluded by reaffirming the Commission’s commitment to working with the lotteries sector to ensure gambling remains safe, fair, and crime-free. She expressed confidence in continued collaboration on regulatory compliance and other initiatives, emphasizing the shared goal of benefiting consumers and the wider public.