Last June, Andrew Rhodes was appointed the interim CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). It now appears that he can count on permanent job security.
Rhodes was given the top job of the UK’s gambling regulatory body after Sarah Gardner stepped in for a couple of months. She was appointed after the previous CEO, Neil McArthur, departed in March 2021.
McArthur left after a serious scandal involving the Football Index and the UKGC’s lack of oversight. Commission Chairman Bill Moyes gave Rhodes the position on an 18-month trial to see if he could better handle the responsibilities.
So far, in the eyes of the UKGC board, he has. The Guardian reports that it is optimistic that Rhodes will lose the “interim” in his title in the very near future. The post comes with an annual salary of £150,000 (just under US$204,000).
Rhodes’ Selection Expected by Insiders
It isn’t too surprising that Rhodes would be given the job permanently. He has been public about his stance on resolving possible money-laundering issues and rule violations, which has appealed to both the UKGC board and lawmakers.
We are seeing the same companies committing the same offences for second or even third times. I have a concern that those operators are starting to see fines as a compliance measure, [which] is something that we are not prepared to tolerate,” said Rhodes of the UK’s lack of gambling operator integrity.
In addition, swapping out Rhodes for someone else would be counterproductive. The UKGC is in the middle of updating UK gambling laws, with substantial progress expected this year.
It is also going to make a decision on who will oversee the national lottery. The UKGC was to announce the winner last year, but had to delay the decision until this February.
Should Rhodes be removed, the process would slow down considerably. A replacement would have to be found, and would then need to learn the ropes before making any changes.
Decades of Experience to the Table
Rhodes had over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors before being tapped to lead the UKGC. He was previously the director of operations for the government’s Department for Work and Pensions, and the chief executive for the Food Standards Agency.
Additionally, Rhodes was the chief operating officer at Swansea University, the school from which he graduated. For several years, he also chaired the community trust at Swansea City’s soccer club.
The soccer team was among the first in the UK to separate itself from the gambling industry. Partly because of Rhodes’ influence and public pressure, the team canceled its sponsorship agreement with Yobet in August 2020. At that point, Swansea University became the primary shirt sponsor.
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