The UK government’s white paper on the Gambling Act may not be published until after the National Lottery licence is awarded in February 2022, according to a story in the Guardian.
In a speech last Wednesday at charity GambleAware’s 2021 conference, Chris Philp, the new gambling minister, said that the white paper would be published “in the coming months” as the government considers more than 16,000 submissions from its call for evidence.
When the review was launched in December 2020, the government policy paper said a white paper would be released in 2021.
The Guardian article says it received the news from several sources, but cites none of them by name and states that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) declined to comment.
The competition to choose the next operator of the National Lottery was supposed to be announced in September 2021, but delays forced the government to extend Camelot’s current licence by six months.
Even these dates “may evolve”, according to the Gambling Commission, dependent on market feedback and the continued impact of COVID-19, which has become noticeably more significant in recent weeks.
A Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) spokesperson told VIXIO GamblingCompliance that it is looking forward to the publication of the white paper and strongly supports the gambling review as an opportunity for change.
The BGC wants the review to strike the right balance between “protecting the vulnerable and not driving the millions who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly towards the unregulated, unsafe black market online”.
While it waits for the white paper to be published, the BGC said it will continue to improve industry standards and promote safer gambling.
The BGC announced on Monday (December 13) that it has formed a cross-industry Ad Tech Forum, including Advertising Association members and the Lotteries Council, aimed at better protecting young people online from harm.
Technology giants Meta (formerly Facebook), Twitter, Google and Snap will also provide their input to the forum, which will cover how data can be used to improve the accuracy of guessing a user's age.
Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said the “proactive work by the gambling industry” is essential to ensure “gambling ads online and in social media meet the highest standards of social responsibility”.
BGC member Flutter UK & Ireland’s CEO Conor Grant has also put out a press release titled “Safer Gambling – putting our customers first”, addressing the “continued uncertainty around the impending government white paper”.
Grant said despite a shifting timeline, the status quo of the industry cannot be maintained by operators in the interim.
Customer protections must be enhanced “not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is vital for the sustainability of our industry”, he said.