Reforms of the UK 2005 Gambling Act were expected to be approved this year with the publication of a long-awaited white paper to implement a regulatory framework that would support the sharp growth in online gambling. After a delay of this publication as a result of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation earlier this year, there will without doubt be further delays with the sudden but expected resignation of Prime Minister Liz Truss.  

The Gambling Act Review

The much-anticipated white paper with reforms to the 2005 gambling act is expected to include maximum stakes for online casinos, a ban on free bets, packages for those who incur heavy losses and ‘non-intrusive’ affordability checks. The Gambling Commission is expecting to be granted new powers and extra funding from increased fees paid by the industry. When published, the white paper will be the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in the UK in the last 15 years.

According to the Gambling Commision in the UK, it is estimated that nearly 23 million adults per month engage in some form of gambling, from playing the lottery to betting on football, horse racing and participation in online gaming. The current rate of problem gambling is one of the lowest in Europe at 0.2 per cent.

Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong 

The resignation of Prime Minister Liz Truss has resulted in a serious national and international crisis.

The problems started on the announcement of the mini budget when former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng planned tax cuts with no funding to back them.  As a result, this would have turned out that the lower income earners would gain something in the region of around €14 extra per annum at a time of an energy crisis with high inflation running at around 10 per cent per year in addition to rising unemployment and a stagnant economy. Forecasts indicate that the UK is facing the potential of a recession.

Criticism by IMF and ratings agencies
It was unheard of for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other ratings agencies to criticise an advanced economy such as the UK and the fiscal measures adopted by Liz Truss’ government. The IMF was critical of the UK ‘s new economic strategy and stated that the mini budget would likely increase inequality and urged the UK government to reconsider providing more targeted support to affected lower and mid-income families and businesses. Investors caused more havoc in markets and the Bank of England was forced to promise “significant” action.

What happens next?

Prime Minister Liz Truss announced in her resignation speech that the Conservative Party leadership election for her successor will be held next week. Liz Truss will remain prime minister until the next conservative party leader is elected. Then there will be a cabinet reshuffle.

UK Gambling Commission

However, the polls are indicating that Labour has a 33 per cent lead.   

It will be difficult for the newly formed government to implement a growth strategy quickly.   “Domestic security is poor with 70 per cent of the population earning less than, or close to, the minimum wage” says Professor Colin Lawrence, former Director of Risk at the Bank of England.

And in the meantime, the white paper is ready and just waiting to be published. It is likely the publication of the gambling act reforms will be further delayed when there are no real reasons to justify any further postponement.

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