Gamblers May Receive Reprieve as PM Boris Johnson’s Resignation May Jeopardise the Proposed Alterations to the Gambling Act of 2005
On the 7th of July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom stood outside the door of his official residence in Downing Street and announced to the world his resignation from his post in government. While this has resulted in mixed reactions from the public, it has brought all the policies that his ministers were working on to a halt.
Johnson explicitly told his cabinet that the government would now focus on the agenda for which it was elected, and not work to implement any new policies that may have been in process. He mentioned in his resignation speech that he would remain in office until a suitable Conservative Party representative was voted in to take over his duties. This may take a few weeks yet.
Of course, Johnson’s withdrawal from the ‘seat of power’ has resulted in multiple high-level ministerial resignations, as it would fall on the new PM to elect his own cabinet. This, of course, means that many policies in the works may either be stalled or repealed completely in the coming months, including the proposed alternations to the Gambling Act of 2005.
Proposed Changes to the Gambling Act of 2005
It is no news to the iGaming world that the UK Gambling Commission is one of the toughest gaming regulators in the world. They have worked for years to make the online gambling sphere a much safer place for Britain’s residents. This has resulted in numerous law changes to ensure that responsible gambling is maintained across the market and that under-aged gambling is eradicated completely. The latest major alterations to the structure of the laws were set out in the Gambling Act of 2005.
Johnson’s Government, under the leadership of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp, launched a massive investigation into the state of the country’s iGaming market. The release of its white paper review was imminent and was expected to bring about legislative changes to the existing laws.
- Limits on max. stakes at online casinos to between £2 and £5
- The banning of free bets as a promotional tool for bookmakers
- Making affordability checks more rigorous
- Banning the use of credit cards for online gambling
Philps’ resignation has halted the implementation of such amendments. It is uncertain whether the policy to alter the Gambling Act of 2005 will simply be put on hold or scratched altogether. We’re guessing the online casino industry in the country is holding out for the latter. The incoming cabinet may focus their priorities on other things, which could seriously compromise the amendments ever seeing the light of day.
While Philps acknowledges that his resignation means that he has no further say on incoming policies, he was quick to offer his services to the new leadership should they need it. He said:
“If I was asked to help out to get the Online Safety Bill to Parliament, I would be willing to help out in any way I could, in any capacity, whoever the leader was and whatever the circumstances were; that’s a matter of public service. I want to be clear I’m not asking for that and I’m not expecting it. I have resigned and when you resign you resign. If I can help out practically, I will obviously give practical assistance.”
Is the Result Good or Bad for the Gaming Industry?
The UK is the single largest gambling hotspot in all of Europe. The gross gambling yield in Great Britain in 2021 was £5.89 billion, which is a massive share of funds to help with building the country’s infrastructure through tax revenues. The UK Gaming and Betting Council have recently shown great concern about the expected incoming laws that were immanently expected to emerge from the white papers.
The eradication of free bets and the limits on gambling could possibly push a nation that has enjoyed free-regulated gambling to the offshore gambling market for more competitive entertainment. So, while the new laws are proposed for the safety of UK citizens, their implementation could be counterintuitive, incentivizing avid gamblers to seek havens where there is no safe regulatory protection.
So, for many involved in the iGaming industry (including gamblers themselves) right now, this sudden change in government may present a welcome sigh of relief for their business.