UK’s White Paper on Gambling Reform Almost Ready for Presentation


The anticipated updates to gambling laws in the UK are almost ready for presentation. The government is wrapping up its white paper, adding a few “finishing touches” before it publishes its new plans.

Nigel Huddleston
Nigel Huddleston
Nigel Huddleston, the UK Parliamentary Undersecretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He is helping shape future gambling laws in the country and will soon present a new gambling white paper. (Image: Sky Sports)

The UK constantly updates, changes and amends its gambling laws. However, the biggest reformation in well over a decade has been in the works for the past couple of years. Government leaders and gaming regulators initially thought they would have a white paper ready at the end of 2020. Instead, they delayed the process after appointing a new gambling minister in Chris Philp.

It was then thought that the new laws could surface in 2021, but that timeframe changed, as well. Ahead of the new projected deadline of this May, the government is almost ready to present the country’s revised gambling regulations.

UK Gambling Reform Almost Complete

The UK Parliamentary Undersecretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nigel Huddleston, has stated that the long-awaited white paper on gambling reform is almost ready. He made his remarks to Parliament as the topic of an “urgent need” for revised laws once again became the center of attention.

Huddleston explained that the government is finalizing the white paper and that it is adding a few “finishing touches” before it presents the document. He wouldn’t say what the white paper will include, but explained that many of the recommendations it received over the past few years made it into the final draft.

One item the parliamentarian revealed relates to affordability checks. The contentious topic appears to have swung in favor of those looking for strict controls.

Huddleston hinted that the financial services sector may play a larger role in the gambling industry, an indication that the single-customer view some lawmakers asked for survived. With this, operators would have access to all spending data of their customers.

[A single-customer view is] increasingly necessary given that the average online gambler now has three accounts, and those with a gambling disorder typically have far more,” asserts Parliamentary Undersecretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nigel Huddleston.

However, there will be some limitations. Affordability checks will allegedly be “proportionate” to the activity. What this means for different components of the gambling industry won’t be clear until the white paper arrives.

Gambling Reform to Remain Fluid

Huddleston broached the subject of taxes and gambling industry contributions to the economy. Although the reform will provide significant concrete approaches to market control, there is also some flexibility in future revisions.

Lawmakers could determine that the current system of taxes and voluntary contributions is insufficient. As a result, they could implement a “statutory levy” moving forward.

Operators already deliver billions of pounds in tax revenue to the UK, as well as millions more in contributions to groups like Gamble Aware and others. However, the government may want more.

During the parliamentary gathering, the subject of advertising came up, as well. Some lawmakers would like to see a complete ban on all gambling advertising. However, Huddleston prefers to apply common sense.

He said that advertising can help licensed gambling operators distinguish themselves from the black market. He added that it also provides financial support for broadcasters, sports and television.

Huddleston pointed out that operators must be responsible in advertising and that the government is committed to combating aggressive practices. To that end, the Committee for Advertising Practice is going to update advertising rules, which it will present in the near future.

The government’s white paper will be released in the coming weeks. The industry is anxiously waiting to see what is coming.

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