UK Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison Resigns

Saturday, January 13th, 2018 | Written by April Bergman
UK Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison Resigns

Sarah Harrison, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission has announced her resignation after 2 years on the job. Harrison will remain with the United Kingdom’s gambling regulator until the end of February 2018.

The departing CEO is taking a senior role with the UK’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. Sarah Harrison rose to the leading role for the UK gambling industry in June 2015. Harrison issued a statement recently mentioning that she was proud of what had been done during her time there.

At the time, Harrison said she was confident that the regulator’s new strategy would “continue to make gambling in Britain fairer and safer.”

The UK Gambling Commission oversees the UK National Lottery, which also facing significant change.

The UK National Lottery determines who organizes and operates lottery gaming in the UK. The current holder is Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd., but Camelot’s license is set to expire in 2023.

James Mackay: UK Gambling Commission CEO

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced it decision to appoint James Mackay for the position of the new Executive Director. He will be leading the search for the next National Lottery’s operating licence.

James Mackay, who previously was in charge of overseeing regulatory issues at Rail Delivery Group, will take a role in the UK Gambling Commission immediately, to make sure the license derby starts without any issues. At the moment, Mackay is responsible for all the commission’s logistics, as well as running the 2023 competition for new operating license.

The UK Gambling Commission‘s Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison said, ‘I’m delighted to appoint James Mackay as Executive Director, to lead the competition for the next National Lottery license.”

UK National Lottery Leader

Sarah Harrison continued, “The Gambling Commission’s strategy makes clear our commitment to regulating the National Lottery in a way that grows its value as a public asset, ensuring it makes the maximum contribution to society, culture and the economy. The competition for the next license, from 2023, will be a key project for the Commission over the next five years.”

Harrison praised James Mackay’s ability to lead the search for a new national lottery operator. She said, “James brings with him a wealth of experience in economic regulation in complex markets, successful program delivery and strong stakeholder engagement — all of which will be critical in developing a robust and effective competition for the National Lottery of the future.”

James Mackay on the UK Gambling Commission

New Executive Director, James Mackay said regarding his new role, “This is an exciting and important piece of work to lead and I’m delighted to be joining the Gambling Commission at a time where the future of the National Lottery and its contribution to society will be debated and reviewed.”

“There is a fantastic opportunity to transform the way the lottery works and ensure it is fit for purpose over the coming decades, whilst at the same time ensuring that players are protected.”

National Lottery Goal: Increased Value

During her announcement of James Mackay as the new Executive Director to head up the National Lottery license competition, Sarah Harrison explained that the National Lottery would continue to increase its value as a public asset.

The departing UKGC director said the competition for the next National Lottery operating license is going to be one of the major projects for the UKGC during Mackay’s five-year term in office – but only one. According to Mackay, the new position would give him opportunities to help the UK Gambling Commission build a strong structure for the future of the National Lottery.

UK National Lottery Games

As discussed above, the National Lottery is managed under an operating license that is issued by the UK lottery game or each class of games that are all offered as a part of the UK’s National Lottery. Currently these games include EuroMillions, Lotto, Scratchcards, HotPicks, Thunderball, as well as interactive Instant win games. The UK Gambling Commission’s National Lottery division is responsible for granting licenses for each.

It is uncertain how many changes to the lottery games will be made under the new regime. Under the Section 5 license, in order to get the UK Gambling Commission’s approval for any changes the company is required to submit information and policies. They want to ensure that any changes or provisions to the operating license do not influence the National Lottery in any way unless approved by the commission.

About Camelot Group Lotteries

The National Lottery franchise was granted to the Camelot Group in May of 1994. The lottery took its first gamble in November of that year. The company kept the franchise in 2001, then re-upped again in 2007 to extend its original 10-year license. In May of 2012, Camelot’s license, referred to as the Section 5 license, was extended by another four years.