If you’ve been closely following the UK gambling industry, you may know there is a current proposal to reform UK gambling laws. The proposal was launched in late 2020, with many believing it would bring about the much-needed regulatory changes and updates to make the gambling atmosphere even more welcoming. However, for the fourth time, the release of the white paper for the reform has been delayed.
This article will look into the components causing the delay, what the white paper is truly about and what the delay may mean for UK bettors. Let’s dive right in.
White Paper Publication to Remain on Hold
The law on land-based and online gambling in the UK is undoubtedly one of the best in the world, but it still has some noticeable flaws. Since 2019, reform proponents have been busy highlighting the parts of the gambling law that needs changes, and this has been summarised in a white paper that was originally meant to be released sometime in 2020. However, due to some factors, the release date was shifted again and again.
The recent delay of the white paper publication will be the fourth, and it is already causing panic among stakeholders and bettors. According to The Guardian, the current UK prime minister, Boris Johnson and some Tory MPs concluded that it is not yet the right time to release the white paper until a new prime minister is elected. A senior adviser to the current prime minister, David Canzini, stated that the white paper could not be published as it would require the signing of Johnson’s successor. Cazini once worked at CT Group, a brand with ties to gambling, so it’s no surprise that he is heavily involved in the gambling reform.
Due to the delay explained, the release of the gambling reform white paper can be expected in September at the earliest. However, this pushing of the deadline constitutes a massive blow to pro-reformers. For over two years, there have been conflicting views about the gambling reform within and without the Conservatives. While some are hoping for the reform to make gambling even more exciting, others like Sir Iain Duncan Smith are more concerned about the harmful effects of the industry.
The Risks Accompanied by the Delay
Many UK gambling organisations and charities condemned the delay in the release of the white paper. One brand that has been quick to voice its opinion is GambleAware. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Zoe Osmond, the CEO of GambleAware, pointed out his disappointment in the continuous delay of the white paper’s release and its safety risks. The CEO mentioned that failure to act quickly puts more people at risk of gambling harm which may indirectly impact public health.
Another top brand that shared its opinion on the issue is Gambling With Lives, a charity that focuses on helping families with children who have taken their lives due to gambling. As reported by The Guardian, a spokesperson from Gambling With Lives said that “tens of thousands more people will be harmed…” and some will die due to this delay.
Nevertheless, as conflicting interests meddle in the release of the white paper and the reform of the gambling laws, it is worth noting that rushing the decision may not give the best outcome from the process.
Which Way Will the Reform Go?
This is likely the question on the lips of every stakeholder affected by the reform. But in honesty, there is no sure way to tell whether the reform will be favourable or not until the white paper is released later in September. However, considering some reports online, the government may place some technical constraints on UK Gambling.
According to SBCNews, non-intrusive affordability checks will likely occur before anyone is allowed to gamble. The betting range at online gambling platforms may also be limited to between £2-to-£5 stake. And if the government chooses not to implement a blanket ban on football sponsorships promised for several months, there will likely be a backlash.
In a report, Sir Iain Duncan Smith was said to be ready to go to war with the government regarding the reform, even if it meant implementing tougher reforms. Nevertheless, the British politician said he would still have accepted the whitepaper despite it being imperfect but because it is an advancement. According to him, some action is better than no action.
The delay in the release of the gambling white paper is undoubtedly getting even more frustrating, considering that this is the fourth time the release has been postponed. However, there is little or nothing to do to speed up the process. According to reports, the release and signing of the white paper will be after a new prime minister is elected in September.
As for what to expect in the gambling reforms, it seems too early to be sure about anything. However, there have been conflicting interests between stakeholders. Some sections hope for the reform to make gambling more welcoming, while others hope to see more restrictions and control on land-based and online gambling. Whatever the outcome, we can only hope that it favours gambling fans and enthusiasts while also ensuring improved safety and the reduction of problem gambling.