UK Gambling Reform Will Be Spearheaded By Downing Street
The UK government and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which is the gambling regulator in the UK have faced significant pressure and opposition over their lack of intent in imposing stringent regulations on gambling operators.
Stats have shown that there has been a significant increase in problem gambling numbers in the last 5 years and not enough is being done to address these concerns. The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was supposed to review the 2005 Gambling Act and make changes that offer better protection to players in the UK.
Downing Street To Take Charge
However, it appears that the DCMS has been brushed aside as Downing Street has decided that it is best for it to take charge of the reviewing and introducing new gambling regulations. Unconfirmed reports suggest that UK PM Boris Johnson and his trusted advisors decided to get involved as players were being exploited by gambling operators and it was time to put a stop to this.
The two individuals who are likely to spearhead the reform are reportedly Munira Mirza who is the director of the N10 policy unit and Dominic Cummings. Sources within Downing Street who prefer to remain anonymous state that there is going to be major amendments to the 2005 Gambling Act which was passed under Tony Blair’s government. One of the key amendments will be introducing new curbs to gambling advertisements.
DCMS Faces Conflict Of Interest
One of the main reasons why DCMS is being pushed out of the scene is because there are government MPs who have questioned the position of the DCMS when it comes to carrying out a full and proper review of current gambling regulations. This is because DCMS has a conflict of interest in the matter since gambling operators make major financial contributions to both broadcasters and sports teams who have strong connections with DCMS.
However, a DCMS official shutdown these claims and stated that the department had no problems in addressing gambling advertising regulations. DCMS stated that it was working together with N10 and was not reporting to N10.
Peers for Gambling Reform
A group called Peers for Gambling Reform which is chaired by Lord Foster of Bath is mounting pressure on the UK government to take urgent action based on the Lord’s select committee report which was published in early 2020. The group is calling for a max cap to be imposed on online gambling bets, imposing a speed limit on playing online casino games and using a testing process to uncover the risks linked with new gambling products and services.