Main UK Gambling White Paper Proposals Implemented By Summer 2024, Says Government

April 23, 2024
The UK government will deliver the main proposals of its gambling white paper with the help of the Gambling Commission by Summer 2024.

The UK government will deliver the main proposals of its gambling white paper with the help of the Gambling Commission by Summer 2024.

An update on the implementation procedure and timetable was provided in the government's response published on a Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee report released on December 21.

The CMS Committee report scrutinises the implementation of the gambling white paper and made a host of recommendations, such as a reduction of gambling advertising in sports venues and a higher proportion of advertising dedicated to safer gambling.

In its response, the government stated it is “working at pace to bring secondary legislation into force as soon as parliamentary time allows”, addressing a request in the report for a “detailed timetable”. 

The government also said it is preparing to publish the responses for land-based measures and the statutory levy “in the coming weeks”.

“In the absence of a standalone gambling bill, we have also used other primary legislation where relevant, such as the introduction of new powers for the Gambling Commission to tackle the black market,” the response states.

The white paper includes 14 measures that require primary legislation to be fully implemented.

Responding to concerns that affordability checks will only be effective if they work across all online operator accounts, the government provides an update on both its pilot scheme and industry efforts to introduce an interim solution “that ensures a level of parity and consistency in how industry-led checks are applied” before checks come into force.

Another key concern raised in the CMS Committee report is the threat of the black market, as well as unlicensed operators targeting self-excluded players with adverts.  

The government said it supports introducing new powers for the Gambling Commission through provisions set out in the Home Office’s Criminal Justice Bill that is currently at the Commons Report stage.

“This will give increased powers to the Gambling Commission to support disruption and enforcement activity, such as to apply to a judge for court orders to enable the suspension of internet domain names and IP addresses, thereby blocking access to illegal gambling sites,” the response states.

Other changes to the Gambling Commission’s funding framework are also being made to allow it to adjust its fees on an annual basis, according to the government response. 

“This will ensure its overall income remains at the right level to respond to challenges, cover the cost of regulation, and allocate those costs fairly between licensees, as is the case with other regulators.”

The government rejected the CMS Committee report suggestion that the Premier League should not just end front-of-shirt gambling branding, but also reduce gambling advertising in venues and ensure a higher proportion of advertising is dedicated to safer gambling messages.

Additionally, the response addressed concerns that the government would not be able to quickly establish a fully independent gambling ombudsman.

However, the government pledged that “if this approach does not deliver as we expect, or shortcomings emerge regarding the ombudsman’s remit, powers or relationship with industry, the government will actively explore the full range of options to legislate to create a statutory ombudsman”.

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