The white paper on gambling reforms in the UK is soon to be published, revealing all of the changes that will be introduced in the regulations of the gambling industry. While some of the soon-to-be-announced reforms have already been revealed to the public, it is still not clear what the final version of the white paper will contain.
With some shareholders in the gambling industry warning about the consequences of implementing way too harsh reforms, there have been doubts about the government giving up on some of the changes in the gambling regulation in the UK. That was the reason for a former Tory leader to declare a “war” on the government if planned reforms are watered down.
As for the issues surrounding the new National Lottery licence holder, the UK Gambling Commission (UKCG) shared concerns about the licence transfer process as the legal challenge by Camelot may disrupt the operations of the National Lottery. To avoid any further delays, the UKGC is asking for the reverse of the suspension of the licence transfer process.
Former Tory Leader Warns Government Against Thinning Down Gambling Reforms
Iain Duncan Smith, a Member of Parliament, declared “war” on the UK government if rumours of gambling reforms being watered down turned out to be true. Previously, it was announced that a mandatory gambling levy will be imposed, requiring operators to make contributions to a responsible gambling fund. Since this reform is still not a fact, currently, such contributions are only voluntary.
Another suggested reform was a complete ban on sports sponsorships by gambling businesses. However, there are speculations that both the mandatory gambling levy and the prohibition on sports sponsorships by gambling operators may not be included in the white paper on gambling reforms. Upon hearing this news, Smith told the Sunday Times that he is ready to take action against the government if it does not keep its promises to implement the said regulations.
Despite several suggestions for stricter gambling regulation, the UK government may back down on some of the suggested amendments to the Gambling Act. The reason for a softer approach may be the concerns of some people regarding the possible consequences of more rigid regulations.
To avoid imposing new taxes on the gambling industry, the government may push for bigger voluntary support from gambling operators. However, if the voluntary contributions do not lead to any satisfying results, the government may consider implementing a mandatory gambling levy. The reason why the ban on gambling sponsorships may also be declined is the huge potential decrease in revenue for sporting clubs, gambling operators, and media companies.
Smith, who declared “war” on the government if it waters down suggested gambling regulations, also received the support of MP Carolyn Harris. As a chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on gambling harms, Harris also believes that harsher gambling restrictions are required to protect society.
Legal Challenges May Be Disruptive for National Lottery Operations
While Camelot Group has been the operator of the National Lottery in the UK ever since 1994, it lost the Fourth National Lottery Competition to Czech-owned Allwyn. However, Camelot decided to legally challenge the decision to grant the operational licence to Allwyn. Due to the legal actions taken by Camelot, the licence transfer process has been temporarily suspended.
Following the results of the blocked licence transfer, the UKGC shared its concerns that the caused delay may disrupt the operation of the lottery and even prevent winners and charity causes from receiving millions of pounds.
According to The Express, the UKGC asked for the reverse of the transfer process suspension. If the fourth National Lottery operator cannot be authorised to operate on time, the delay may cause no operation of the National Lottery after Camelot’s licence expires. This could prevent numerous players from claiming their wins. The National Lottery has contributed to 660,000 good causes, raising over £45 billion since it was first launched in 1994.
After the announcement of Allwyn being selected as the new operator of the National Lottery, Camelot Group decided to legally challenge the decision of the Commission. According to Camelot, if Allwyn receives the fourth National Lottery licence, this would permanently put the current licence holder out of business.
A spokesman of Camelot Group shared with The Telegraph that they believed there is no threat of the National Lottery stopping its operation during the transitioning period between the third and the fourth licence. To prevent ceasing the lottery operation, Camelot suggested several solutions to the Court, including an interim licence that would apply until the legal challenge is resolved.