The UK government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005 has been delayed to May 2022, The Guardian has reported.
According to the report, three sources have cited that the government’s proposals for gambling reform laws will not be published until May due to the crisis within the Conservative party and the uncertainty regarding Boris Johnson’s future as Prime Minister.
The gambling law review was launched back in December 2020 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). A white paper was planned to be published before the end of 2021 but was postponed to early 2022 after a cabinet reshuffle. The paper has reportedly been delayed to May 2022 now.
The review was first launched amid mounting concern over gambling addiction and children’s exposure to gambling through advertising and sports sponsorships. The delay has sparked further concern amongst gambling addiction campaigners who have demanded urgent reform.
Carolyn Harris, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm, has voiced that concern that the Conservative’s crisis could disrupt the review, saying: “Of course time must be taken to gather the evidence to ensure the right reforms are put in place, but the gambling review was announced over two years ago.
“Every day of delay leads to further gambling-related harm while the industry rakes in profits. The government must not let its own internal problems stand in the way of much needed reforms for this country – it is time for action.”
Liz Ritchie, who co-founded the charity Gambling With Lives with her husband Charles, also stressed the importance of gambling law reform, saying: “Someone takes their life every day in the UK because of gambling, so we simply cannot wait until May to see this white paper.
“How many more families need to be shattered by highly addictive gambling products and predatory gambling industry practices before the government acts?”
Not much is known about what the white paper will entail, but it’s thought that the government may impose a ban on gambling sports sponsorships, as well as changes to the way online slots are played.