Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the weekend, you should be aware by now that last Thursday’s UK general election ended in a majority victory for the Conservative party. This landslide victory for Boris Johnson should be the final step in completing plans to leave the EU and put an end to the Brexit debate.
The Tories may still be in power after nine years, but that doesn’t mean that big changes weren’t promised as part of Boris’ election campaign. Some of those changes are directly related to gambling regulation and the care and protection of problem gamblers.
So what does this election result mean for gamblers in the UK?
Speaking before the election, Boris Johnson pledged to sanction a review of the UK Gambling Act from 2005, referring to it as an “analogue law in a digital age”. He’s not wrong either, the act was created 14 years ago before smartphones and Facebook were created, and before online casinos sites were as popular as they are now.
Since 2005 the number of bingo halls has dropped from nearly 600 to under 400, whereas online bingo has seen a sharp increase in players, so why should the same laws made in 2005 apply? A shakeup of the outdated set of gambling regulations that brings them into the modern age will be beneficial to both players and operators.
Boris has also promised to “legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online”. This isn’t specific to gambling though, the UK government is already taking action to protect children online and reduce access to harmful and illegal content.
However, as online gambling is so popular, the changes outlined will affect online gamblers. A new duty of care will ensure companies “take responsibility for the the safety of their users and tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services”, and this includes gambling operators.
The changes in gambling legislation will also tackle the issue of loot boxes in video games, which has become more of a problem as video game publishers become unlicensed gambling companies. A ban on the use of credit cards for gambling has already been proposed by the UK government, but the issue of credit card misuse is something that the Conservative government has promised to make further progress on.
It’s good to see that the Government is promising to take the issue of gambling addiction seriously, but how and when these changes will be implemented is currently unknown.