The Good, The Bad and The Uncertain

The Good, The Bad and The Uncertain
Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

The UKGC business plan and budget 2024 to 2025

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released its new Business plan and budget 2024 to 2025. This covers the first year of a comprehensive three-year corporate strategy, which aims to improve and modernise gambling regulation in the UK.

At first glance, the plan promises a range of benefits and improvements for both players and casinos. However, upon closer inspection, there seem to be some potential drawbacks that could impact some operators.

In this article we take a look at the UKGC plan and budget and consider positive aspects, possible drawbacks, and some areas we feel are somewhat uncertain.

An overview of the UKGC business plan and budget 2024 to 2025

The UKGC's plan sets out an ambitious roadmap to modernise gambling regulation in the digital age, breaking it down into five strategic focus points:

  1. Using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective.

  2. Enhancing the UKGC’s core operational functions.

  3. Setting concise, evidence-based requirements for licensees.

  4. Being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity. 

  5. Regulating a successful National Lottery.

Consumer first focus

According to Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the UKGC, their key principle is to “put people first". The Commission is focusing on the “22.5 million people who gamble in Great Britain every year,” ensuring all regulatory work ultimately benefits consumers

Rhodes also states that they are making “further progress to deliver the important reforms" set out in the Government’s White Paper High Stakes – Gambling reform for the digital age. You can find out more about this and our thoughts on the white paper here

National Lottery

National Lottery regulation is another key aspect of the plan, with a goal to regulate the new National Lottery operator and ensure everyone benefits from the lottery in its 30th year. Slot Gods’ Paul Clare had a deeper look at the National Lottery recently, discussing the regulatory landscape, and why it is an integral part of UK gambling.

Initiatives and strategies

Industry initiatives such as the single customer view (SCV), GamProtect will gain further support, and the effective use of data will drive better regulation. This includes identifying and addressing areas where current data and evidence are lacking. 

Other main strategies being prioritised include:

  • Revised approach to regulatory return data.

  • Introduction of an account management style framework.

  • Increased investment and commitment to tackle illegal gambling.

  • Increasing transparency around industry compliance.

  • Reducing overall reliance on formal enforcement.

  • Increased action against those not meeting responsibilities.

  • Increased action against illegal casinos.                                                    

The plan, according to Andrew Rhodes, includes “multi-year commitments,” so we may not see some proposed actions immediately. 

Although the UKGC has a clear commitment to implementing effective plans, the question is: does this business plan provide the solutions the gambling industry needs? Improved regulation, consumer protection, and industry compliance sounds good, particularly in this digital age, but is it realistic? 

The pros and cons of this UKGC plan and budget

There are some clear positives from the UKGC business plan and budget:

  • A people-first approach, ensuring protection for 22.5 million consumers in the UK.

  • Initiatives set up to improve consumer experience with better safety and protection.

  • Comprehensive data collection for more effective policies. 

  • Improved use of data to enable more effective and targeted regulation. 

  • Enhanced compliance and enforcement to prevent issues before they escalate.

  • Increased investment to combat illegal gambling.

  • Collaboration with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on reforms for a more comprehensive regulatory approach,

That all looks rosy, but there are some drawbacks to consider:

  • Implementing some of the changes will be challenging, requiring many resources, including funding and manpower. This will likely put a strain on the UKGC, as well as casinos.

  • Some of the initiatives, like the single customer view (SCV) and the data-sharing framework, are complex, and could conceivably face delays.

  • The plan is somewhat overregulated, with strict regulations that could negatively affect innovation within the industry. We have seen this happen before, leading consumers to gamble in the unregulated, unlicensed sector. 

  • Operators could struggle to keep up with the increased regulations, affecting their ability to compete and business more generally.

The risk of overregulation looms large over this plan

Operators, especially smaller ones, could face burdens due to the scale, scope and cost of the reforms. Boosting their competitiveness against the larger casinos could be stifled, leading to some of the smaller ones potentially going out of business. 

It’s not inconceivable that only the larger operators will survive this plan, reducing consumer choice and market diversity. 

This may result in players turning towards illegal gambling platforms, as many have done in Europe.

The data-driven regulations being introduced are a concern. The introduction of the SCV and increased data sharing across the whole industry could lead to various risks, if not managed properly. This is why we want to see better clarity on how the data will be protected and used to prevent misuse.

Casinos, big and small, will need to make significant adjustments with the move towards an account management style framework. Expect disruptions in operations and higher costs, at least in the short term, as businesses adapt to the changes. For instance, slow service delivery and fewer casino options are just a few possibilities this year. 

Will players and operators benefit?

Whilst the UKGC business plan and budget is lacking in some areas, there are some clear benefits industry-wide. 

For players, these include:

  • Better protection with enhanced safety measures (GamProtect) against gambling-related dangers.

  • Increased transparency and accountability from casinos, which should improve trust and consumer experience.

And for operators:

  • Clearer guidelines and frameworks will make it easier to implement and monitor changes 

  • A greater focus on early compliance and proactive regulation may create more opportunities for a safer and more predictable environment. 

Questions remain

The UKGC’s business plan and budget 2024 to 2025 has both positive and negative aspects, though we can’t seem to shake some concerns. For instance, the sustainable funding model lacks some specifics regarding structure, as well as how it may impact stakeholders. This needs to be made clearer by the UKGC.

Privacy and security are a key concern. Whilst we are confident in the UKGC putting robust security plans into action, consumer trust and compliance is crucial. We feel there is still room for improvement in this area, as some loopholes can still be found. 


Despite its good intentions, the UKGC Business plan and budget 2024 to 2025 risks creating a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment. 

Yes, consumer protection is very important, but the Commission must make sure its regulations do not harm the very people it is trying to protect.

From the plan, there are four main areas that need to be addressed:

  1. Overregulation

  2. Strains on resources

  3. Risks to data privacy

  4. Unclear funding strategies

These areas pose challenges to the gambling industry, but with careful management, we believe the industry can benefit. A delicate balance is needed from the UKGC, so consumers remain protected whilst the gambling industry continues to innovate. 

Without this balance, however, the plan could do more harm than good, at least for the foreseeable future. If consumers start to look at unregulated, illegal gambling routes, the UKGC may have inadvertently given a greater platform to the very problem they are trying to combat. 

Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

Simon’s long-term fascination with slots started with teasing 40p worth of change from the skilful spinning of 10p coins into a fruit machine in the last century. This has grown recently to a solid appreciation for the often dazzling artistry, imagination and mechanics of modern online slots.