Whether you’re someone that bets a lot, you work in the industry or you just place the odd flutter, you have probably heard whisperings of a gambling review within the UK. The truth is that the white paper surrounding this has been in the pipeline for a number of years, with various reasons sighted for its delay and several rumours about what to expect when it is eventually published. However, recent changes in Government, which appear to be on-going have put a spanner in the works and the question the industry is asking is, will the gambling reform actually take place?
What Did We Expect to See
The release of the white paper surrounding the latest UK gambling reform has been in the pipeline for a number of years, with its publication being delayed several times. However, despite the significant delays we have seen, several MPs were vocal about their support for the reform and it was generally accepted that it would go ahead, even if it were delayed. Most assumed that the delays were down to genuine reasons – Covid restrictions being one of them & the fact that the government were keen to get things right the other.
There were several things due to be discussed and published in the white paper, with much of it thought to be around the safety of gamblers & ensuring that responsible gambling is promoted wherever possible. One change that had been rumoured several times was a change in sponsorship rules where an online betting company would sponsor a sporting match or league. It is thought that this was due a shake-up in the papers; as many of these matches take place before the watershed which would usually mean that gambling advertising would not be allowed. That said there were already several conversations surrounding this happening within the industry, with companies debating loopholes and how they could get around any new rules that were put in place.
Online casinos are thought to have been involved in the discussions and possible white paper release too. It has been a number of years since the gambling rules were last looked at by the UK Gambling Commission and the fast-moving pace of the industry means that things have changed and are outdated. It is thought that the white paper was going to take a deeper look into things like online casino VIP areas and welcoming bonuses. The promotion of these was under discussion and debates happening as to whether they encourage irresponsible gambling or not were taking place as part of the much-awaited gambling reform.
A Review of the Gambling Act
Although the review itself has been taking place since early 2020 it was the year before that it was initially mentioned by the Conservative Party as part of their manifesto. Since then there have been several reasons for the delay but in July last year, Chris Philp said that the final document was with Number 10 for their review. However, he has since resigned and we have had a change in Prime Minister, which has again led to changes.
It is still unclear as to what the Truss government intends to do in regard to the gambling industry and top slot sites, but the news that the gambling review could be scrapped signals that it is not at the top of her list right now so the industry will need to wait and see what happens.
What Do The Government Say?
Over recent weeks we have seen several new government initiatives announced and then this to be backtracked on a couple of days later, as well as several changes in the government line up too. As yet there hasn’t been an official announcement regarding the UK gambling reform, but we have heard several discussions about previous bills being removed or adjusted. Some bills have already been scrapped with hints that others could follow in their footsteps. Truss has been reasonably vocal in the fact that she feels changes need to be made and that she isn’t worried about upsetting people if it is the right thing to do. With so many changes in the pipeline and an air of uncertainty about several bills that had previously been announced, many feel that the gambling reform could be one of the next to be officially scrapped.
Does The Industry Want it scrapped?
Anyone that works within the gambling industry will tell you that they are used to changes to rules and regulations and as such the gambling reform wasn’t something that they were worried about. That said, if people are expected to make changes then as much notice to do this as possible is always going to be better for business. The gambling industry, in general, is a fan of promoting safe and responsible gambling and as such are usually quick to implement any changes or recommendations that are put to them.
One worry is that there haven’t been any real changes for a number of years & that this reform is already well-researched and throughout it. If indeed this reform is scrapped then the worry is that it could be put to the UK Gambling Commission to put together their recommended changes – and as this is likely to be done in a hurry, it might not take the needs of everyone into account as the reform we have all been waiting for would have done.
Gambling in the UK
The truth is that on the whole gambling is an accepted and enjoyed hobby within the UK, so whatever changes we do or don’t see, it is something that is likely to continue. Undoubtedly any reform will have looked at the money gambling brings in for the government and how any changes will affect this. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the gambling industry is one that moves quickly and if this reform isn’t released soon then it could be out of date before it is even published, especially if it doesn’t touch upon things like Bitcoin casinos and using Cryptocurrency for betting.