July 8, 2024 3 min read


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Labour’s Historic Win Heralds Gambling Sector Uncertainties

Reassuringly, the party’s manifesto included a commitment to work collaboratively with the industry to enhance responsible betting and gaming standards

In the wake of Sir Keir Starmer’s historic landslide victory, the UK gambling sector faces significant uncertainty. British racing, in particular, must navigate a drastically altered political landscape, as many of its key supporters in Parliament have either retired or lost their seats in Thursday’s election. However, Labour has pledged to address industry feedback, alleviating concerns.

Shifts in Parliament Changed the Status Quo

Several prominent supporters of British racing from the Conservative and Labour parties, such as Matt Hancock, Ben Wallace, and Conor McGinn, stood down ahead of the election. Others, including Laurence Robertson and Sir Philip Davies, were defeated. Nevertheless, the racing and gambling sectors retained some support in the new administration, which should help elevate any issues.

Lisa Nandy, whose Wigan constituency includes the headquarters of the UK Tote Group, had previously referred to the Tote as “an iconic institution,” which might offer some reassurance. Racehorse owner Rupert Lowe’s win in Great Yarmouth potentially adds another ally for the sector. Starmer himself expressed his interest in horse racing amidst the Gamblegate scandal, which is welcome news for the industry.

A key concern for the sector is the Labour administration’s anticipated tougher stance on gambling regulation, which could have substantial financial implications for British racing. The shadow minister for media, gambling, and sport, Stephanie Peacock, may not retain her role, and there is speculation that the new government might separate gambling from sport and racing.

The Gambling Industry Remains Optimistic

Despite ongoing uncertainties, gambling sector representatives have already made overtures to the new government. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) congratulated Labour on its victory. BHA chief executive Julie Harrington urged the new government to support racing, emphasizing the need for constructive engagement. She highlighted the organization’s efforts to build extensive engagement with the party while in opposition.

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chair Michael Dugher, a former Labour MP, also welcomed Labour’s victory and the party’s commitment to working with the industry. He stressed the importance of implementing proportionate regulatory changes that protect vulnerable individuals while allowing responsible betting to continue, which is only impossible via collaboration with stakeholders.

The BGC and our members remain committed to working with Labour to implement the evidence-based, proportionate, regulatory changes outlined in the white paper.

Michael Dugher, Betting and Gaming Council chair

As the UK gambling sector braces for potential changes under the new Labour government, stakeholders are preparing to navigate an increasingly more complex regulatory landscape. The new administration is poised to continue the country’s White Paper reforms, finalizing this vital milestone in the UK’s efforts to keep up with the gambling sector’s evolution.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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