Conservatives in Manifesto Pledge to Review the UK Gambling Act
Boris Johnson has pledged new regulation which he says will make the UK “the safest place in the world to be online”. Releasing the party’s manifesto, the Prime Minister promised new legislation and a full review of the 2005 UK Gambling Act.
Following Labour’s lead, who called the current legislation “analogue law in a digital age”, the Torys will be focusing on the impact of gambling using a credit card and contemplating a ban of the use of “loot boxes” in video games which currently do not come under the remit of the Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The UKGC launched a twelve-week consultation into the use of credit cards back in July and is thought to favour a complete ban on their use for gambling-related products and services. The Commission executive director, Paul Hope, said gambling on credit was a risk factor for consumers and believed it was an area that the Gambling Commission wanted to take action on. The UKGC admitted that the commission had “very little” information on why customers use credit cards for gambling and wanted to explore if there were any specific benefits of doing so.
The UKGC had also raised concern regarding the use of e-wallets for betting, stating it was difficult for operators to know the source of funding when customers used them. The Commission has said it would require “e-wallet providers to take the necessary action to support any regulatory measures introduced”.
The Conservatives’ main rival in the upcoming general election, The Labour Party, released their manifesto last week. Contained within it was the pledge to establish gambling limits and to introduce a levy on gambling which would be used to fund problem gambling treatment and the party said they would propose mechanisms for customers to claim compensation from the bookmakers.
Labour, if successful at the general election, are thought to favour introducing more restrictions on advertising and would add “gambling limits” on how much a customer can lose. Experts, however, have stated it is unlikely that the party would introduce £2 stake limits online, which was a recommendation of the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
The UK’s fourth-biggest party, the Liberal Democrats, are the only England-based party not promising a review of the Gambling Act. Instead, the party, led by Jo Swinson, would introduce a “Gambling Ombudsman” for the UK. The Lib Dems have not revealed what responsibilities the ombudsman would have. They would, however, back a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling and like the Conservatives introduce a compulsory levy on operators to provide funds for gambling addiction treatment.
Latest odds on the general election, see the Conservatives favourites to obtain the most parliamentary seats @1/25. Labour is priced @ 13/1 with the Liberal Democrats outsiders @100/1.