The UK 2005 Gambling Act Will Face Changes

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
Regardless of the Election Outcome, the UK 2005 Gambling Act Will Face Changes

Online gambling operators with a UK license are about to face even stricter restrictions, regardless of which party wins the UK General Election that will take part on the 12th of December.

The 2005 Gambling Act will be reviewed on the part of the three major political parties, Labour Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, which have all outlined the changes needed to the legislation in their manifestos less than a month before the General Election.

Johnson’s Manifesto

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the UK public the Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2019, which clearly stated his priorities for the UK following the elections. What we could see from the early polls, suggestions are that Tories will get a significantly bigger majority in the House of Commons.

The Tories want Brexit to be over, that’s true, however, they also want to review the 2005 Gambling Act. As Johnson claims, the Gambling Act was an analogue law in a modern, digital age, even though that same Act was the first local legislation to regulate and authorize online gambling.

In their review, the Tories will focus on tackling issues around credit card misuse in online gambling and loot boxes.

Recent studies conducted by the UK Gambling Commission showed that loot boxes were actually dangerous for children. Children claimed to have been pushed toward actual gambling thanks to their exposure to loot boxes. They claimed that they were blindly buying, spending their parent’s money, to buy the loot boxes just to open them and see that they haven’t got what they expected, and having to buy more. The thing with the loot boxes is that they promise boosts and players, so you need to purchase them first, and then see what you’ve got.

Johnson stressed that the government will protect underage from online gambling harms, and will prevent them from getting access to harmful content. He promised to legislate and make the UK the safest place in the entire world to be online.

As for the gambling with credit cards issue, there was a public consultation conducted by the UK Gambling Commission on whether online gambling with credit cards should be banned or not. The credit card ban was actually first mentioned and proposed by a group of parliamentarians in addition to a number of other online gambling restrictions, such as the stake cut on online slot machines that would match the current £2 max stake on fixed-odds betting terminals in land-based gambling establishments and shops. The stake cut on FOBTs took effect from the 1st of April, 2019.

Manifestos by Leaders of the Other Parties

Similar anti-gambling manifestos were weighed in by the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats supported the credit card gambling ban, while the Labour Party vowed vengeance on operators, suggesting a total overhaul on online gambling.

The Labour Party underlined that it plans to roll out stricter restrictions to gambling advertising during sports events and review the football regulations and governance. Its plans are to focus on the funding of the clubs, ownership rules, further community dynamics, and treatment of supporters. Jeremy Corbyn explained that the professional game of football has become divided between the very poor and very rich extremes, with clubs like Bolton and Bury facing total collapse.

Labour Party plans to legislate for accredited football supporter trust which would be able to remove or appoint at least two club directors and purchase communal shares. They plan on reviewing the proper and fit person test for directors and club owners. Also, they plan on ensuring that supporters’ trusts have a proper role so that football is properly run for all its clubs and all fans. However, they also plan to introduce gambling limits and impose a levy on operators directly, that would be used towards the funding of problem gambling support.

The Liberal Democrats, on the other hands, plan a combo of the limits and restrictions mentioned in the two other parties’ manifestos. They want to ban credit cards for online gambling purposes, further restrict gambling advertising, and introduce an independent ombudsman. Layla Morgan said problem gambling has a sad and even fatal impact on the lives of thousands of people in the UK, emphasizing how heart-breaking it was to see so many vulnerable people fall into debt even further as gambling becomes more consuming. She promised that Liberal Democrats will take decisive and bold action to tackle gambling as a whole, and especially problem gambling.

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