SBC Podcast #73: Andrew Rhodes – CEO Of The Gambling Commission

In the latest SBC Podcast I am joined by The Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes for an in-depth chat about the regulation of gambling in the UK.

‘The White Paper’ was published last year and this document has resulted in some fierce debate across the gambling world, with the Gambling Commission coming under fire as accusations of bias, secrecy and incompetence have been levelled at them.

This chat provides Andrew with the opportunity to refute those claims and to discuss some of the issues that are of interest to you – the punters.

I didn’t get to ask about every topic on our list (restrictions, Minimum Bet Liability (MBL), the debate around statistics in gambling and many more items were considered) but it was great to get some clarity on things like affordability, the black market and bookmaker behaviour.

You can listen to Episode 73 now via Apple / Spotify Google / YouTube and all other major podcast directories (search Smart Betting Club)


Given how seldom we hear from Andrew Rhodes or the Gambling Commission, especially when it concerns the perspectives of bettors, I genuinely appreciated the opportunity to interview him on this podcast. It was a unique chance to address numerous pressing issues and represent the concerns of the average bettor.

With only about an hour of his time available, I made it my priority to delve into four key areas: Affordability Checks, Open Banking, Bookmaker Behaviour, and the Black Market. These topics often intertwined, prompting questions like why should we trust bookmakers with intrusive affordability checks and open banking given their track record?

I focused on these areas, not because others aren’t important, such as a Minimum Bet Law or the Gambling Commission’s use of statistics and data, but because of the necessity to prioritize.

Reflecting on the interview, I felt a mix of frustration and intrigue. There were moments of frustration where clarity seemed elusive, particularly regarding the specifics of frictionless checks and their implementation, and the perceived lack of urgency in addressing issues with bookmaker behavior. Open banking, just like bookmakers restricting stakes was a ‘consumer decision’, which might be correct but yet when 80% of those confronted by open banking refuse to engage with it, clearly it’s not a tenable solution.

However, there were also glimpses of progress, such as the confirmation that checks could be scrapped if proven ineffective or non-frictionless. Additionally, acknowledging the growth of the UK black market and a willingness to address it signalled a step in the right direction, although the Commission’s capacity to tackle it effectively remains in question. Exactly what kind of impact can an organisation with just 370 employees realistically have against the wave of black market websites and WhatsApp bookies out there currently?

I emphasised the importance of the Gambling Commission engaging directly with bettors and their representatives, rather than solely with anti-gambling organizations or industry bodies like the Betting and Gaming Council. This podcast marked a significant moment as it seemed to be the first time Rhodes engaged with a pro-betting organization, potentially paving the way for more open dialogue with punters and their representatives such as Justice for Punters and the Gamblers Consumer Forum.

While disagreements persist regarding the Gambling Commission’s policies and approaches, the opportunity to voice concerns about the UK betting landscape remains crucial. Here at the SBC, we have been extremely critical of the Gambling Commission and what we perceive to be regulatory failures both before and during Andrew Rhodes’s tenure.

Despite that, we thought that it was important to get him on the show, to let him speak and to get the opportunity to pose questions that punters want answered – something that we haven’t seen him do before.

This chat was difficult as unlike most of our previous podcasts, I quite strongly disagree with the guest on a whole host of issues! I hope that you enjoy it and as I said at the end of the show, I hope that it represents a fresh start, with the regulator interacting with punters and bodies who represent them more regularly.

SBC Editor – Peter Ling