February 26, 2021 3 min read


UK: Gambling Act 2005 Changes Unlikely to Occur Before 2022

The UK may not implement any changes to the Gambling Act 2005 before 2022, a government official noted during a Westminster Policy Forum event.

No Industry Changes This Year

Ben Dean, director of sport and gambling at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) suggested that the timeframe for change implementation regarding the ongoing review of the Gambling Act 2005 should be long enough to allow all voices on changes to be heard.

Speaking at the event entitled “The future for gambling regulation”, Dean outlined the ongoing review of the country’s gambling law need to have as bigger industry picture as possible.

“The intention of the review is to take a step back and take the widest possible look at the whole system of regulation. We are trying to get that balance between respecting consumer freedom and choice on one hand, and prevention of harm to individuals and the wider community on the other.”

Ben Dean, Director, Sports and Gambling, DCMS

The UK government launched a review of the Gambling Act 2005 in December last year, considering it obsolete and unable to respond to the challenges posed by developments in technology.

“There are many areas of disagreement on how to achieve this but the thing we can all agree on is that new technologies really have transformed the gambling ecosystem and clearly the wider economy as a whole. Clearly further change is going to happen as technology continues to advance.”

Ben Dean, Director, Sports and Gambling, DCMS

Speculation and Public Tension

The review already stirred the pot within the industry creating public tension between the gambling industry representative body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), on one side, and the UK Gambling Commission and MPs from the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

Circulating speculation about measures such as putting an end to gambling sponsorships, blanket ban on gambling advertising and imposing strict stake limits for online operators are also causing industry unrest.

While remaining tight-lipped on specific measures, Ben Dean pointed out that high-level roundtable meetings were taking place behind closed doors, where industry representatives, the Gambling Commission and people with lived experience of gambling harm were discussing potential future steps.

Before the end of 2021, and once roundtable sessions and responses have finished and been collated, the government will release a white paper on the review, but changes would unlikely occur before 2022, Dean highlighted, pointing to the previous occasion of launched consultation on the subject of loot boxes by the DCMS which got more than 30,000 responses.

“It’s essential that we make sure we have a flexible and future-proof regulation that can adapt as needed and protect against future risks while capitalising on the opportunity and allowing developments to also happen.”

Ben Dean, Director, Sports and Gambling, DCMS

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