UK Labour Party 'Gambling Regulation Reform' Lacks Details 

June 14, 2024
The UK Labour Party is “committed to reducing gambling-related harm”, according to its 2024 manifesto, which pledges unspecified reforms to gambling regulation. 

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

The manifesto was published on June 13 and includes only a minor reference to gambling, under the “action on public health” section, reflecting a shift in authorities' attitudes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past few years to treat gambling harm as a public health issue

“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 Labour Party, which is a strong favourite in the polls to win the election, has not responded to questions from Vixio on the details of its plans. 

Questions remain about whether it will complete the long-running Gambling Act Review that was initiated under a Conservative government, with several elements of the white paper still to be implemented.

Gambling does not appear to be top of the agenda for any of the major political parties in the UK ahead of the general election on July 4. 

The Liberal Democrats is the only other major UK party to mention gambling in its manifesto, which has reignited concerns that the election could cause delays in implementing the proposals. 

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed Labour’s manifesto, adding that its members remain committed to delivering “evidence-based, proportionate” proposals in the Gambling Act Review white paper.

Reforms supported by the BGC and Labour include introducing a statutory levy, creating an ombudsman, frictionless financial risk checks online, 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.

BGC CEO and acting chair Michael Dugher said it has long considered Labour to be “a government in waiting”. Dugher is himself a former Labour MP.

“We have worked closely with shadow ministers in recent years and we strongly welcome their commitment in the manifesto to work with the regulated industry,” Dugher said.

However, Dr James Noyes, senior fellow of the Social Market Foundation (SMF) and a former advisor on gambling policy to ex-Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, said his organisation, which has advocated for gambling reform, is “surprised that there was no concrete explanation of what this reform might mean”.

“If Labour is serious about reducing gambling harm, it must be bold in its renewed calls for reform — with strong regulation, not self-regulation, as the way forward,” Noyes said.

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