he UK General Election is behind us and, despite all four major political parties choosing to highlight future gambling policy in their respective manifestos, the truth is that relatively few voting decisions will have been swayed one way or another on that front alone. The media headlines in relation to each of those policy proposals particularly focused on controversial features within the online gambling sector, as too they had done in the period since FOBTs departed from betting shops to
all intents and purposes in April 2019.
Some UK land-based casino operators might have considered they had nothing to fear from the calls by parliamentarians of all hues to ban credit card use for online gambling or bring loot boxes within the definition of gambling. Indeed, such operators might possibly have (a) actively welcomed the Labour Party’s proposal to introduce lower staking limits online and (b) had considerably less concern than the online sector about the potential for greater restrictions on gambling
However, cross-party support for some of the other manifesto proposals will be of considerable relevance to the land-based casino sector. In line with the Conservative Party’s electoral promises before the 12th December election, it seems fairly clear that a review of the Gambling Act 2005 is on the cards at some stage during the next five years.
As and when this occurs, the swinging of the regulatory pendulum points to introduction of considerably greater restrictions than were imposed by the supposedly liberalising reforms last time around. To put this into perspective, such a review will not of course take place overnight and, when it does, its initial prime focus is likely to be in relation to the online sector. That is evidenced by what was a rare agreement between the two main political parties that a need exists for “a new Gambling Act fit for the digital age” (according to the Labour Party) because the existing legislation is “an analogue law in a digital age” (according to the Conservative Party).
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