UK Industry Pledges To Work With New Labour Government

July 8, 2024
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UK trade group the Betting and Gaming Council has welcomed Labour’s election landslide victory and committed to working with the new government to deliver industry reforms, such as “frictionless financial risk checks online”, but the industry awaits key ministerial appointments.
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UK trade group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has welcomed Labour’s election landslide victory and committed to working with the new government to deliver industry reforms, such as “frictionless financial risk checks online”, but the industry awaits key ministerial appointments.

BGC chair Michael Dugher said its members are “in the midst of the biggest regulatory changes in a generation following the publication of the White Paper, which Labour supported, and much of this work will carry on now the election is complete". 

“Our members have the much-needed political certainty they need to plan and invest for a sustainable future,” he said in a statement on July 5.

Reforms supported by the BGC and Labour include introducing a statutory levy, creating an ombudsman, new stake limits for online slots, a sports sponsorship code and “modest but mission-critical modernisation proposals for the land-based casino sector”, the trade group stated.

“The BGC had long treated Labour as a government in waiting, working closely with shadow ministers in recent years, on behalf of our members and their millions of customers,” Dugher said. 

The UK Labour Party said it is “committed to reducing gambling-related harm” in its 2024 manifesto, which pledges unspecified reforms to gambling regulation. 

“Recognising the evolution of the gambling landscape since 2005, Labour will reform gambling regulation, strengthening protections. We will continue to work with the industry on how to ensure responsible gambling,” the manifesto states.

The Liberal Democrats were the only other major UK political party to address gambling in its 2024 manifesto, reigniting concerns that the election could cause delays in implementing Gambling Act Review proposals.

A new gambling minister has yet to be appointed, as Prime Minister Keir Starmer continues to fill out his team following last week’s election victory.

Whoever does take up the gambling brief will report in to Lisa Nandy, who has been appointed culture minister, the most senior post in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Nandy has not campaigned meaningfully on gambling issues during her 14 years in parliament, but has tended to vote in favour of more restrictions on the industry.

However, her Wigan constituency includes the headquarters of the UK Tote Group, the historic pool betting operator, and she has spoken in its defence in previous parliamentary debates.

With hundreds of new MPs joining parliament, the key figures in the future of the UK’s gambling debate have yet to take shape.

Carolyn Harris, the leader of the influential All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (APPG) and deputy leader of Welsh Labour, retained her seat.

As did long serving MP and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan-Smith, who serves as vice chair of the APPG. 

However, fellow vice chair Ronnie Cowan lost his seat to Labour, amid a widespread collapse for the Scottish National Party.

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