The new white paper from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has finally been released by Lucy Fraser the current Culture Secretary. This lays out the government plan for gambling regulation reform and is the most comprehensive review of UK regulations in nearly two decades.
However, due to the length of time from the paper being instigated, numerous changes in ministerial responsibility and even Prime Minister, bets have been hedged somewhat and a number of new consultations on some of the major issues are going to be set in motion before being set in law.
What Are Some of the Most Significant Changes in the New Gambling Whitepaper?
With this new smartphone era, there have been repeated calls for the UK government to review the rules around online gambling and, most significantly, young people’s access to and exposure to gambling.
Many of the current laws are outdated and this new white paper looks set to bring regulation in line with online gambling in the new digital age. Some of the most significant changes that are laid out in this white paper are:
- Limits of £2 to £15 bet per spin placed on online slot games
- There could be further protections placed on 18 – 24 year olds with a £2 or £4 limit
- A new statutory gambling operator levy will be enforced and these funds will be directed towards the NHS to help provide treatment for gambling addicts
- The rules around bonus offers are set to change to prevent them from being harmful
- The UK Gambling Commission will be awarded more powers to take down black market operators via the courts and through working with Internet Service Providers
- Any loopholes for under-18s gambling will be closed, including Cat D machines in seaside arcades
- Additional player protection checks by operators and sharing of information
- A new ombudsman will be created to help resolve disputes between players and operators in cases where the operators have not carried out their full duties to protect players
As you can see, the new legislation being introduced to regulate the online gambling industry as part of this white paper is extensive. Organisations such as GamCare, which help to take problem gambling, have already responded and welcomed these changes, particularly in regards to the new ombudsman, a new levy being introduced and more financial risk checks being carried out.
What is Not Included in the New Gambling White Paper?
A key area that has not been included in the new white paper is advertising. Many have campaigned for a complete ban on gambling advertising but there is no mention of this in the whitepaper.
Despite advertising being left out of the whitepaper, many organisations are taking proactive steps This includes the Premier League who have announced they are removing gambling sponsorships on match day shirts by 2026.