MPs Criticize Possible “Watered Down” Gambling Act Review White Paper

  • The UK government has been reviewing the region’s main gambling laws
  • Recent media reports suggest the white paper might not be as hard-hitting as once thought
  • Gambling reform advocates have spoken out strongly following these reports
  • Gambling operators have been preparing themselves for new restrictions coming into place
Fists on table
UK MPs are voicing their concerns over rumors that the UK government might publish a watered-down Gambling Act review white paper. [Image:]

Rumors doing the rounds

UK MPs who have been pushing for a significant overhaul of the region’s gambling regulations have expressed their dismay at reports of a potentially “watered down” Gambling Act review white paper. The government has been in the process of reviewing the UK’s gambling laws for some time and is getting ready to publish its findings. 

major opposition from UK gambling operators and other industry stakeholders

Following major opposition from UK gambling operators and other industry stakeholders, media outlets have reported that the white paper will not be as hard-hitting as once thought. Many politicians who are strongly in favor of gambling reform are now reportedly ready to fight back if this proves to be the case.

Potential backtracking

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm chair MP Carolyn Harris and the vice-chair Iain Duncan Smith have both expressed their outrage over the reports of a softer white paper. One of the big talking points is introducing a ban on gambling companies sponsoring sports teams and competitions. However, media is now suggesting that on the back of pandemic-related struggles that English Premier League clubs will continue to be able to partner with gambling companies. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports has been leading the review of the Gambling Act. The process has been delayed by the pandemic and changes within the department.

There are also reports that a planned new compulsory levy on gambling companies is going to be scrapped. Instead, it appears there could be a new voluntary contribution put in place, with the funds going towards funding problem gambling addiction support services. 

Certain MPs are not happy

Duncan Smith, who was previously the leader of the Conservative Party, responded to the rumors regarding the white paper, saying: “I will go to war with the government on this. The evidence is clear about the damage problem gambling can cause.”

He went on to say that he will not compromise at all on the compulsory levy. 

Labour MP Carolyn Harris also had strong words to say about the white paper media reports. She believes if major changes are not made that it will have been a missed opportunity to “take brave steps to tackle gambling-related harm.”

gambling sector has been bracing itself for further restrictions

The gambling sector has been bracing itself for further restrictions on the back of the government’s Gambling Act review. Some of the other new measures under discussion were the introduction of much stricter affordability assessments, as well as a significant reduction of online casino stake sizes. In its Q1 financial results summary, Flutter Entertainment suffered a £20m ($25m) drop in EBITDA as a result of its preparations for potentially incoming regulatory changes.

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