Casinos for youJust as Brits thought certainty might arrive on the gambling reform, the possibility of more change appears imminent. Rumours and opinions will continue to circle without confirmation on whether the reform is off the table.
Rumours of a booted gambling white paper surface as citizens of the UK grow accustomed to the new faces that lead their country in government and sovereignty. With a new Prime Minister at no. 10 Downing Street who seems to apply the no-confidence vote on most of her predecessor's decisions, media reports tell how PM Liz Truss plans to focus on growth and scrap anticipated legislation changes.
The UK gambling reform is part of a list of outstanding bills that now may no longer be on its way, and as we await confirmation on the rumour, experts ask what this would mean for the industry. Some argue that the PM will not drop it altogether, but could this be a necessary disappointment or another unnecessary improvement setback?
Out with the Old, In with the New
Defining the previous UK government rule as chaotic could be an understatement in many aspects, and change was necessary. Since PM Truss stepped into her role as leader of the conservative party and Britain, she announced a few cabinet changes and a new gambling minister.
More steps to get her house in order included the announcement of scrapped legislative reviews, namely the energy bill and bill of rights. A leading UK media source report indicates the long-awaited gambling reform white paper may also be on the chopping block.
While this is a shock to many in the industry, there may be reasoning behind the decision, and only time will tell whether it is so. PM Truss explained that she does not believe the government must tell people how to lead their lives and prefers changes that make a real difference.
When commenting on why she wants to drop the obesity strategy, she said:
“I would put these in the category of culture wars, not policy making. It’s not serious, thoughtful changes.”
The new government sets out to lighten the burden on businesses in the country with the reality of the rise in costs, and PM Truss would rather focus energy on growth strategies than restrictive law changes.
Overdue Gambling Reform
Challenges with the anticipated review of the UK’s outdated gambling act span over the past few years. One challenge was the bill changing hands with four ministers in charge of the DCMS over approximately two years. Another was the inability of parliament to agree on what to include or exclude in the updated legislation.
In his public resignation from Boris Johnson's cabinet earlier this year, Chris Philp mentioned that the reform only needed the final signature. Philp, now the new chief secretary of the Treasury, championed the white paper along with strict changes in legislation such as compulsory donations from gambling operators.
Cabinet members commented on plans to cut certain anticipated bills and said:
"Anything that puts additional burdens on business or seems like unnecessary interference in people's lives during a time of crisis is in our sights."
Topics raised for potential inclusion in the gambling act reform covered affordability checks and restricted bonus offers from online operators. If the new PM sees no use in telling people how to run their lives, and the government aims to lighten the load on businesses, the white paper could very well be on its way out.
Gambling with Necessary Changes
A gambling industry expert warns of the impact this could have on the UK gambling industry. Regulus Partners analyst Dan Waugh believes a definitive update on British gambling regulation is imminent, and further delays may do more harm than good.
Other bill cancellations came with instructions for further research by the new government, hinting at future updates in those areas. Perhaps the Truss administration seeks clarity on specific gambling industry facts before making a call. But, in the meantime, various stakeholders wait a bit longer.
Regardless of whether the white paper includes restrictions for players and operators, a reviewed gambling act is necessary. Although confusion reigned in the previous administration, we must ask whether the new government should throw out nearly three years of work.
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