Barring any additional delays, the UK’s long-awaited gambling reforms may actually appear next week. The government’s gambling white paper, according to Racing Post, could be the main topic of conversation in the House of Commons on Thursday.
The white paper is expected to present some of the biggest legislative reforms in almost 20 years to the UK’s gambling industry. While the contents of the final draft are still unknown, leaked information over the past few months indicates that operators and consumers can expect a much more restricted market.
Rumors indicate that strict limits on spending, affordability checks, mandatory operator fees, and more are part of the reforms. The industry has taken solace in the fact the government has promised a “common-sense” approach, although that description is somewhat vague.
Overhauling Responsible Gambling
At the center of the reforms, according to the government, is a response to what some have argued is out-of-control gambling spending. Certain segments of the political system and the gaming industry want the government to make consumers spend less on the activity.
This is because, according to them, gambling addiction is widespread and has to be stopped. According to the UK Gambling Commission’s own studies, the “problem gambling” rate in the UK, at around 0.02%, is among the lowest in the world.
Nonetheless, changes are coming. Department for Culture, Media, and Sport representatives, including Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, could present the white paper to the British Parliament next Thursday.
Racing Post indicated the government “has scheduled the release of the white paper for that day,” though that doesn’t necessarily mean it will. The time line has already shifted several times, and Andrew said this past Monday that the government will “publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks.”
Should the white paper not appear next Thursday, the industry will have to wait a little longer. Parliament has an extended break coming up that could impact its release.
In celebration of May Day, Parliament goes on vacation from April 27 to May 2. Immediately after, it won’t be available from May 3-9 for the coronation of King Charles. After that, there won’t be much time before the next holiday, as Parliament will shut down for Pentecost from May 25 to June 5.
GambleAware Gets a Makeover
GambleAware, which supports gambling addiction and prevention efforts in England, Scotland, and Wales, is getting a makeover. It’s changing the name of the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) to the National Gambling Support Network (NGSN), and expects to double its funding over the next year.
The group said in a press release that it will be more proactive in early intervention to relieve pressure on the National Health System (NHS). It will also develop more referral programs and individually-tailored solutions.
Currently, GambleAware receives partial funding from “voluntary donations from the gambling industry,” according to its website. That might change when the white paper arrives, as there has been a push to force a mandatory levy on operators. Amid rising inflation and cost of living increases, this could upset the stability of the industry.
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