UK Gambling Act Changes Might Not Go Into Effect Until 2022

  • DCMS director Ben Dean outlined the reasons why changes might not come into play until 2022
  • Gambling Act review began in December 2020 and seeks to bring regulations into the modern age
  • Meetings are currently taking place to discuss various aspects of gambling legislation
  • Some of the possible changes include curtailing gambling advertising and strict max stakes
  • The end goal is to have a framework that is flexible and future-proof
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Any updates to gambling regulations following the UK government’s review of the UK Gambling Act might not take effect until 2022. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Taking an all-encompassing approach

It appears that changes resulting from the UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act might not take effect until 2022. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) director Ben Dean spoke on the matter during a Westminster Policy forum event.

take a wide look at the current regulatory system

He outlined how all viewpoints on the possible alterations will be under consideration before any of the changes become permanent. During “The Future For Gambling Regulation” event, Dean spoke about how the main approach of the legislation review is to keep an open mind and to take a wide look at the current regulatory system.

Dean underscored how the government is trying to strike a “balance between respecting consumer freedom and choice on one hand, and prevention of harm to individuals and the wider community on the other.”

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The government review into the UK’s gambling legislation began in December 2020. The current framework is not in tune with modern times, having been installed in 2005 when online gambling was still in its relative infancy.

Meetings are currently taking place on the legislation review, involving the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), industry representatives, and people who have dealt with gambling-related harm in the past.

The government will reportedly issue a white paper before the end of the year to detail the progress of the review. All of the meetings and responses to the proposals will be taken into account before publication. Therefore, DCMS director Dean believes that it is likely that changes won’t take place until next year.

To date, the Gambling Act review has led to tension between different groups, including the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), MPs who make up the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm, and the UKGC.

Aims of the legislation review

Since the announcement of Gambling Act review, many potential changes have been subject to speculation. Some of the measures thought to be under consideration include the ending of sports team sponsorships by gambling companies, putting significant restrictions on other forms of gambling advertising, and implementing strict limits on stake sizes.

During his appearance at the Westminster Policy forum event, Ben Dean did not give much away about the specific changes that might be in the final revision. He did note that there are certain areas of disagreement about how to best approach different types of situations. All parties do appear to be in agreement, however, that changes are necessary as the sector evolves.

Dean finished off by emphasizing that it is vital that future-proof and flexible regulations are put in place. This will allow the authorities to protect against any possible future risks, while still enabling necessary technological developments to take place.