Shift in power
UK gambling reform could still be a long way away, even after Liz Truss’ victory in the race to become prime minister.
Predecessor Boris Johnson’s July resignation tabled ongoing talks over gambling legislation and plans for the future. The wagering community has been rapidly growing and, as a result, so has the list of interested operators. Problems quickly began piling up, however, and lawmakers demanded answers.
Truss is aware of the issues she is facing, both related and unrelated to gambling, and has promised to hit the ground running. That timeline, though, could still be longer than previously imagined.
Truss edged out British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to secure her seat as prime minister. The Conservative Party was decidedly in her favor, giving her 81,326 votes to Sunak’s 60,399.
the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) increased 10.1% year-to-year during July 2022
One of the biggest issues Truss will face is inflation. According to the Office for National Statistics, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) increased 10.1% year-to-year during July 2022, the highest annual CPI inflation rate since the company’s origin in 1997. Inflation also skyrocketed up from 9.4% in June as the economy continues on a very negative trajectory.
Having money in the pocket is just about the only prerequisite for people looking to enjoy gambling and other forms of entertainment— that and the minimum age requirement. The rapid rise of inflation is an obvious limiting factor to the market’s success.
The cost of living in the UK has also increased markedly, with the cost of energy being one of the largest culprits. Even though the UK no longer imports gas from Russia due to sanctions levied after the invasion of Ukraine, the closure of the Russian-owned Nord Stream pipeline figures to drive prices up throughout Europe.
Truss is taking a hard stance on the impending peril, promising to return the cost of living to a more palatable level.
“I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy,” said Truss. “I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply.”
With Truss’ first initiative already earmarked, it is unlikely that she will pay much attention to gambling legislation during her first days in office.
Future of UK gambling reform
Analysts in the UK suspect that Britain’s soon-to-be prime minister will shy away from imposing heavy gambling regulations. The major worries are that strict oversight would shrink the market and reduce incoming tax money.
A white paper on gambling reform was scheduled for August, but it could be delayed again as Truss assembles her cabinet. It is even possible that the idea gets scrapped entirely.
the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will not impose many of its planned reforms
In addition, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will not impose many of its planned reforms for marketing to at-risk persons despite dealing with problem gambling and suicides.
The regulator will not provide any guidance until at least next February, if at all. Instead, it is pursuing an open forum with other industry members.
The UKGC is still pushing forward with a few initiatives. Two of its biggest changes deals with how operators identify at-risk customers and how they ultimately handle them. The UKGC will also hold several meetings this month to discuss other matters and plans on publishing the findings in December.