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UK government may enact “watered-down” gambling regulation, says report

Updated by Ralph Trayfalgar

At the conclusion of the long road to drafting sweeping reforms to the UK gambling industry, new information says the final version may end up being “watered-down”.

The Sunday Times recently released a report claiming that lawmakers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport may end up caving to lobbying from UK betting companies and release a more lenient version of the white paper said to reform and modernise the UK Gambling Act of 2005, which has been in the works for over two years following several months of delays.

At present, speculation about the measures and changes to be introduced by the white paper continues to abound. Some of the popular theories include the introduction of a mandatory levy on all gambling firms, betting limits on online slots, and completely cutting off the participation of the gambling industry in sports team advertising. 

But if The Sunday Times’ claims turn out to be true, the mandatory levy measure could be axed from the final version.

According to GambleAware, the UK’s largest independent gambling advocacy group, the current system of voluntary contributions to problem gambling initiatives is not fair as some gambling firms pay vastly more than others. The group believes that a mandatory levy could add an extra £140 million in funds that go directly to combating problem gambling in the UK.

Around the same time, The Guardian, has released multiple reports exposing government officials and politicians who have accepted gifts from betting and gaming firms.

Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, denies the claim that lobbyists and government officials are cozying up together. Dugher reminded those advocating for particular gaming reforms that the gambling business contributes £4.5 billion in taxes and employs at least 119,000 people. 

However, public opinion may favour more lax gaming regulations. According to a survey, some 65 percent of all UK adults feel that limiting player’s betting amounts will end up encouraging gamblers to turn to the illicit gambling market. 

The UK Gambling Commission, meanwhile, has reaffirmed Andrew Rhodes as the regulator’s permanent chief executive, as the watchdog fights for greater industry standards and has vowed a zero-tolerance attitude for violators. 

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