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UK Election: Manifesto Week may clarify gambling industry framework

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The UK gambling industry’s attention will be focused on the key players in the UK political arena as we move into the manifesto week of what has so far been an election campaign that is turbulent.

Before Rishi Sunak made his surprise call for the elections, there was some clarity about the framework and regulations that would be in place.

As we enter a new political period in the UK, it remains to be seen if the work done will be reversed and if previous decisions altered.

Imogen Moss is the Solicitor at Poppleston Allen, a licensing law firm. She said that the question facing the industry was if the changes from the review would be implemented or just thrown away.

It is likely that more information will be revealed on this topic this week, when the resurgent Labour Party led by Sir Keir starmer outlines their plans for this country, should they win the keys to the number 10 office on the 4th of July.

Moss said that she believed that “A delay is most likely” – that nothing would happen regarding the DCMS’s work on reforming gambling until the end of summer at the latest.

She said: “The Gambling Commission must stay the course, as consultations are already underway and there have been published changes relating to age verification in premises, design of remote games, online financial vulnerability, risk and personal management licence requirements.

These changes will begin to take effect by August. The timing of the returns will be altered.

The gambling industry has already done a lot of hard work. Elections are an unpredictable time for all sectors, but the professionals in this sector have been working on it since long before they were announced. Before the announcement of an election, it was likely that the statutory instruments would be ready in a matter of weeks.

The changes that require an update to the legislation, such as changes to machine entitlements at AGCs, bingo halls, and the introduction of Levy, Ombudsman, and cashless payment, are currently on hold.

She also emphasized that, moving forward, the issue of safer gambling must remain an important point in any changes to legislation, and so, some measures.

In general, Labour Party members have supported changes to the White Paper. It is not unlikely, however, that the new government will want to stamp its mark on an issue as emotive and significant. Moss did say that gambling reform was not high on the agenda.

She added: “There is going to be a new minister of gambling, whatever happens. Stuart Andrew resigned.” If, as seems to be the case, a new Labour government is formed, former shadow minister Stephanie Peacock may take on the position of gambling minister. She spoke at the Betting & Gaming Council Annual General Meeting, and she has participated in debates about gambling in Parliament.

If Labour forms a government, there could be a major reshuffle. We could have a new minister for gambling who would want to review some of the changes.

In the run-up to elections and in recent years, all the major parties had similar opinions on gambling. We don’t have the manifestos yet.

Subscribe to Gambling Commission E-Bulletin to stay informed about any LCCP changes and to engage with trade associations in the lead-up to July’s 4th elections. It is likely that there will be little happening between now and July 4th, with the summer recess following, it may take until autumn to get any updates.

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