Last year, the UK Government launched its review of the Gambling Act 2005, and ministers are expected to release a white paper in early 2022 alongside a three-month consultation before the bill is sent to Parliament and any changes finalised.
The review of the Gambling Act 2005 is expected to bring in several changes to the gambling industry across the United Kingdom. With 2022 fast approaching, we thought we’d explain everything you need to know about the Gambling Act 2005 review and what changes you can expect from it.
The Gambling Act 2005 review is essentially a review of the United Kingdom’s Gambling Act 2005, an Act of Parliament that was implemented on April 7th, 2005, and was designed to control all forms of gambling across the nation. The Act created the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the organisation responsible for regulating all online and offline gambling across the UK.
Although the UKGC has introduced several laws to protect players and minors and vulnerable people, it has faced criticism for its regulation of the gambling industry, particularly the online market, which has expanded significantly due to the emergence of modern technology, including smartphones.
In response to a rising number of criticisms against the Commission, the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) launched a review of the Gambling Act in December 2020 with the aim of assessing whether the UK has the “balance of regulation right” and to ensure the Act is “fit for the digital age”.
The launch of the review began with a call for evidence that closed at midnight on March 31st, 2021. The DCMS encouraged anyone with an interest in the way gambling is regulated in the UK to come forward with information on several factors and evidence or data to support responses.
These factors include online protections for players and products, the advertising, sponsorship and branding of gambling, the UKGC’s power and resources, age limits and player verification, video game loot boxes, and the regulation of land-based gambling.
The review was initially spearheaded by Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, but Conservative MP John Whittingdale took over the review in March this year. As we reported, the switch led campaigners to express concern over Whittingdale’s past voting record, as the MP reportedly voted against tougher restrictions across the gambling industry.
One of the immediate outcomes of the Gambling Act Review was the UK Government increasing the minimum age requirement to play the National Lottery from 16 to 18. The change was implemented in April 2021, ahead of its original October 2021 deadline, and UK National Lottery operator Camelot also shut down access to online lottery products for people aged under 18.
Although nothing else has been confirmed, several reports have suggested that the UK Government is looking into a ban on sports sponsorships following the recent outcry over how sponsorships expose vulnerable and young people to gambling. The report was backed up by Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling and Labour MP Carolyn Haris, who claimed she was confident that a sponsorship ban would be one of the first outcomes of the gambling review.
It’s also been reported that the Gambling Act 2005 will reportedly look into limiting the maximum stakes that can be made online, implementing tighter affordability checks on players, implementing a stricter testing regime on new gambling products, potentially changing the way promotions and bonuses are promoted and the way gambling is advertised and marketed, and assessing the powers of the UK Gambling Commission.
We’ll stress that none of the above reports have been confirmed by the Government, so it’s unknown exactly what changes the UK Government will implement once the review has been completed. If gambling sponsorships are indeed banned, as so many reports have suggested, it could spark trouble for sports clubs that rely on these funds to continue playing.
Unfortunately, we’re going to need to wait until 2022 to find out what’s going to be changing within the gambling industry. To ensure you’re kept updated on everything gambling, we suggest you check back with us.