What Boris Johnson’s government means for gambling

  • Updated
  • By Amy McDonnell
Boris Johnson gambling
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Boris Johnson has officially been sworn in as the UK Prime Minister and regardless of whether you’re happy about it or not, it wasn’t exactly a shock. 

With 66% of the vote, Boris Johnson defeated opponent Jeremy Hunt comfortably and has taken on the laborious task of delivering Brexit with just 98 days until the October 31st deadline. 

But, how will Boris’ premiership affect the gambling industry and will his views lead to more restrictions and reforms? Below is a brief overview of how the Prime Minister and his cabinet have voted on anti-gambling legislation in the past.

How often has Boris Johnson voted on gambling issues?

Since 2004, there have been eight gambling regulation bills voted on by MPs and Boris Johnson has participated in just three of them (37.5%).

This makes it difficult to evaluate his beliefs accurately, however Boris was a vocal pioneer regarding the reduction of maximum FOBT (Fixed Odds Betting Terminal) stakes to just £2 earlier this year.

Boris on FOBTs

In 2015, Boris urged ministers to reduce maximum FOBT bets on the basis that "they can be dangerously addictive, their promise of whopping wins only gives false hope, and they prey on the vulnerable within our society." 

He said was also one of 70 MPs who put pressure on ministers to bring the cap forward to April 2019 from 2020.

The cabinet’s views

Overall, Boris Johnson’s cabinet hasn’t been particularly outspoken against gambling or for further regulations

Chancellor Sajid Javid appears to have differing views to Boris as he has generally voted against greater regulation of gambling in the past eight years. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel joined Boris Johnson in putting pressure on the government to stop delaying the FOBT maximum cap. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has a mixed record, but voted against requiring online casinos to ban players who have self-excluded elsewhere. 

What does this mean?

Given that Boris Johnson will probably spend the next three months trying to deliver Brexit, it’s unlikely that any major anti-gambling legislation will be pushed through. 

However, it also doesn’t appear that gambling is on the top of the cabinet’s agenda anyway given that most have voted against tighter regulations in recent years.

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