There’s been a changing of the guards at the top of the UK’s government. Following Boris Johnson’s resignation in July, Liz Truss is taking over as Prime Minister, but gambling reform is still a long way away.
Truss beat out former British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to take the top spot of the government. The ruling Conservative Party was somewhat divided, giving her 81,326 votes to Sunak’s 60,399.
The new PM knows she has a lot of work to and has already asserted that she’s going to get started reforming the country. That includes updated gambling laws, but not before she addresses other items.
Gambling Reform Not a Priority
Logically, for consumers to gamble, they have to have money. Currently, the economic situation in the UK is not conducive to discretionary spending. Inflation topping 18% is a reality, and Truss wants to get this under control first.
The cost of living in the UK has increased significantly, putting pressure on much of the population. In addition, energy prices are going up and could increase more. Although the country doesn’t import gas from Russia, the latter’s decision to close the Nord Stream pipeline to Europe could impact prices everywhere.
I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” said inbound British PM Liz Truss.
As a result of everything that’s going on, reviewing reforms on gambling isn’t likely. Many analysts believe Truss, soon to be the UK’s former Foreign Minister, isn’t going to spend time on an issue that could reduce an industry like gambling further and cut tax revenue.
In addition, there have also been indications that Truss is more lenient toward gambling oversight. At the same time, though, she doesn’t want to give up too much control to local governments.
The new government white paper on gambling was to arrive this month. However, it’s now looking like more delays are coming as Truss tries to put the house in order. It’s even possible that the white paper ends up in the trash can in favor of a completely different set of regulations.
UKGC Slows Down
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) isn’t moving forward with some of its planned reforms, either. It announced on September 2 that it will not introduce a requirement that operators stop marketing to consumers at risk of gambling harm.
The regulator won’t introduce the guidance until next February, if it introduces it at all. The UKGC now wants to conduct a consultation with the industry, which will also focus on bonus offers and other consumer interactions.
However, it’s going forward with some aspects of its reforms. Starting this month, operators will have to enhance their identification of potential gambling harm. They will also have to develop automated systems to assist that process.
The consultation on the other topics will begin this month and last around six weeks, according to the UKGC. It then hopes to publish the results sometime in December.
That month, two current members of the UKGC’s board will renew their posts. John Baillie and Catharine Seddon are going to continue until April 10, 2024.
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