The British gambling laws may finally be revolutionized as sources say that the Gambling Act review white paper is looming. The document was continuously delayed over the last few years because of the unstable political situation but the time for its release is nearing.
According to igamingbusiness.com, a gambling news outlet, a House of Commons source told it that the release of the white paper is “imminent.” The upcoming release is allegedly the reason why the DCMS Select Committee on gambling regulation oral evidence session was postponed. The source told iGB that the meeting will likely take place in May.
While the white paper itself will not change the law, it will pave the way for additional reforms by providing guidelines on what the approach should be. The UK has long sought to make its gambling laws more suitable for the digital age but the white paper delays have slowed down this process.
The White Paper Will Revolutionize British Gambling
Even prior to its release, the white paper became the subject of heated discussions between people advocating for new restrictions and gambling industry bodies and shareholders. Activists backed the introduction of financial risk checks that would protect high-risk players, as well as the adoption of a mandatory 1% levy to fund responsible gambling programs.
Stake limits and sponsorships in sports were also discussed, with the latter topic still sparking debates. Seeking a compromise with the government ahead of the publication of the white paper, the EPL proposed removing all gambling sponsorships from the fronts of its players’ jerseys. However, some slammed these measures as inadequate as they do nothing to address the hoarding sponsorships which are much more visible.
The Paper Was Delayed Multiple Times
The publication of the white paper was delayed multiple times since the beginning of the review in December 2020. Experts expected the document to be published in early 2021 but multiple delays pushed it back.
Eventually, various shakeups in British politics provided further reasons to postpone the white paper, including multiple gambling minister changes. First of all, Nigel Huddleston was replaced by John Whittingdale. The latter was then replaced as gambling minister by Chris Philp. Philp was eventually succeeded by Damian Collins, who was replaced by Paul Scully. In early 2023, Scully himself made way for Stuart Andrew becoming the latest minister responsible for overseeing the review.
Last year’s political instability caused by the resignation of Boris Johnson and the short-lived tenure of Liz Truss didn’t help the white paper either.