The push for new gambling reforms to be rolled out across the UK gambling industry continues to grow stronger and louder as multiple anti-gambling groups in the UK lobby to get the UK government to act.
UK Government Will Not Be Rushed
The UK government along with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have made changes in recent years to offer better protection to UK players. However, anti-gambling organizations claim that these efforts are not good enough as problem gambling numbers in the UK continue to be a problem.
Anti-gambling groups like the Social Markets Foundation (SMF), Peers for Gambling Reform and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm have campaigned to get the government to review current UK gambling laws. They got their wish as the UK government commissioned the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to create a special task force to review the archaic 2005 Gaming Act.
There is no deadline as of now as to when the review of the 2005 Gaming Act will be officially completed and when the proposed changes will be rolled out.
Peers for Gambling Reform Report
The Peers for Gambling Reform group recently released a report titled Gambling Harm – Time for Action. The group hired Nera Economic Consulting to compile data on the UK gaming industry and put forward suggestions that will help the UKGC and the UK government in better regulating the gaming industry.
This report turned out to be quite controversial as it put forward bold suggestions such as banning gambling sponsorships for football teams, putting in place affordability checks and imposing stake limits. This report said that these recommendations would result in a potential drop of £974 million in industry profits and would significantly decrease gambling harm in the UK.
The report also provides a reassurance that while a potential £974 million shortfall could hit the gambling market, it would result in a knock on effect on other industry and result in the creation of 30,000 jobs and increase employee salaries overall by £400 million.
Lord Foster Shares His Views
Lord Foster, chairman of the Peers for Gambling Reform group said that the proposed changes will not wipe out the gambling industry as some might believe but would cut down the participation of players and protect them from problem gambling. Lord Foster also wants the gambling reforms debate to not be restricted to DCMS alone.
Lord Foster wants other government departments such as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Care to get involved as problem gambling numbers are rising and it is impacting a number of different areas in society. He has also called for the Treasury to get involved and said that one of the focuses of their recent report was to provide the Treasury with stats to show them that there was no need to get alarmed by the loss of revenue in the gambling industry as the same would be recovered from other industries.
Call For UK Gov. To Act Swiftly
Peers for Gambling Reform is urging the UK government to act swiftly and not delay looking into their report and rolling out changes to gambling regulations. The DCMS review of the 2005 Gaming Act began in December 2020 and a finalized report is due before Dec 2021. However, the on-going COVID-19 situation might change those deadlines and it could be pushed into 2022.
Lord Foster said that the last gambling review carried out in the UK started in 1999 but the amended legislation was only rolled out in 2007. He said he does not want the same thing to happen with the 2005 Gaming Act review and said the UK gambling market cannot afford to wait for a long time for proposed changes to come into play. Lord Foster wants the UK government to act in the meantime and roll out immediate measures that do not require the need for official legislation.
BGC Rubbishes New Report
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) was very critical of the Peers for Gambling Reform and urged the UK government to not pay any attention to the report. Michael Dugher, who heads the BGC wasted no words and called the report an economically daft report that was prepared by biased prohibitionists.
Dugher called on the UK government to take their time with the 2005 Gaming Act and carry out a detailed review instead of rushing and making impulsive decisions based on what he called fabricated numbers that were best suited for the birds. While the BGC head criticized the report, he reiterated the fact that they were keen on working with the UK government to offer better protection to British players.
The BGC also pointed out that licensed operators have are donating £100 million to gambling related research and a further £10 million to the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention programme.