The 2005 Gambling Act will come under scrutiny from three of the major UK political parties, after the Conservatives, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have all outlined changes to the legislation in their manifestos ahead of the upcoming General Election.
Speaking in Telford yesterday, Boris Johnson described the current Gambling act as “analogue” in a “digital age”, while also emphasising that the use of credit cards on online gambling sites will come under review alongside loot boxes in video games.
Johnson highlighted that the government will protect children from online harm and ‘the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content’, stating that it will ‘legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online’.
The Labour Party has underlined that it will roll out further restrictions to advertising during sporting events, as well as a review of football governance and regulations. The party plans to focus on ownership rules, the funding of clubs, treatment of supporters and further community dynamics.
The manifesto outlined that a Labour government would ‘legislate for accredited football supporter trusts’, which would be able to purchase communal shares and appoint or remove ‘at least two club directors’.
“In football, the professional game has become divided between the extremes of the very rich and the very poor with clubs in Bury and Bolton facing collapse,” explained Jeremy Corbyn.
“We will review the ‘fit and proper person test’ for club owners and directors and ensure that supporters’ trusts have a proper role so that the professional game is properly run for all its fans and all its clubs.”
Beyond advertising, a new Gambling Act under Labour would include the introduction of ‘gambling limits’ and the imposition of a direct levy on operators which would be used towards funding UK problem gambling support networks.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats appeared to combine both Labour and Conservative policies by promising a ban on credit cards, tighter advertising restrictions and an independent ombudsman.
Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ spokesperson on culture, explained: “Problem gambling often has a pernicious and incredibly sad impact on the lives of thousands of people up and down our country.
“It is heart-breaking to see many vulnerable people fall further into debt as gambling becomes ever-more consuming.
“But, as ever with this mean-spirited Government, the Conservatives have neglected the problem. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the Lib Dem-led initiative to reduce the maximum stake for FOBTs and have no interest in protecting the vulnerable any further.
“Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will take bold and decisive action to tackle problem gambling.”
The Scottish Nationalist Party has yet to publish its manifesto, however since the party wishes to have devolution to Holyrood of the nation’s gambling laws, in effect it also supports a review of the Gambling Act. But regardless of which party ends up in 10 Downing Street on the 13 December, a review of the legislation is clearly on the cards, with the industry due to face further restrictions.