Gambling Commission’s visit to the Grand Pier pays off

Grand Pier management say that Neil McArthur’s hands-on visit to the pier at Weston last year was an “unprecedented” success – on the back of a follow-up visit from one of his colleagues.


A visit from the chief executive of the Gambling Commission to Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier last year has helped forge a better relationship between the industry and its regulator, says the management of the widely acclaimed pier.

The commission’s Neil McArthur visited the attraction following his keynote speech at the Bacta convention last November, where he said the commission was developing an internal initiative to help build deeper levels of understanding between the commission and those it regulates.

“It’s really important that the commission understands what it’s like to work in different parts of the industry, who the customers are, and understand the several day-to-day challenges,” said McArthur at the time. “Speaking to the staff, one of the first things that struck me was just how much effort everyone put into treating their customers fairly and how they would go the extra mile to ensure people were enjoying the experience. Every question from a customer was answered with a smile and customer care was clearly a priority.”

Indeed, such was the degree of its success, McArthur’s time in Weston resulted in the commission launching its own job-shadowing initiative, “Hot Shoes:” which gives the regulator’s employees the chance to gain a similar first-hand experience in different parts of the industry.

To this end, McArthur’s experience has now been followed up by his assistant licensing manager Jaska Latham (pictured), who spent two days at the Grand Pier last week.

“Family Entertainment Centres and Adult Gaming Centres aren’t part of my current specialism, so I learned a lot during the visit, gaining a better understanding of the variety of machines available, of how age verification checks were completed and much more,” she remarked. “The Grand Pier is more of an entertainment venue where you could spend the whole day rather than just a traditional arcade.”

Latham added that she would “thoroughly recommend” the Shoes scheme, and claimed that it will “enable me to do my job more effectively.”

The Grand Pier’s general manager Tim Moyle, meanwhile, said that McArthur’s visit had represented an “unprecedented” collaborative opportunity.

“We were delighted by the comments he made afterwards, demonstrating that he clearly found the visit extremely insightful,” he added. “Needless to say we had no hesitation in offering to host further visits, and I’m very pleased that Jaska found her time with us so beneficial.”

BACTA’s outgoing president Gabino Stergides also echoed these sentiments, asserting that the Hot Shoes programme could only generate a more industry-positive stance from the regulator in the future.

“Anything which improves the understanding of the sector must surely lead to better regulation,” he stated. “I am very pleased that the Grand Pier in Weston once again agreed to be a host.”


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