Gambling Reform Bill in the UK Reportedly on Its Way to the Trash Can

Those calling for gambling reform in the UK aren’t going to be happy with the latest development. As Liz Truss continues to put her house in order as prime minister, the long-anticipated update to the country’s gambling laws might never arrive.

Liz Truss arrives for a cabinet meeting in London in September 2020 as then-Foreign Secretary. The UK’s new prime minister may scrap a gambling reform plan in the works for years. (Image: Getty Images)

The UK government spent the past few years reviewing and updating its gambling regulations. It was to present its gambling white paper a year ago before delaying its publication several times.

Eventually, it appeared as though the government would unveil its plans sometime this month, but that was before Boris Johnson handed over the keys to the castle to Truss. The Guardian reports that the government is scrapping a number of proposed legislative changes, one of which is the gambling reform.

Back to Square One

The media outlet confirmed that Truss and her new cabinet are dumping energy reform and a new bill of rights. At the same time, an online harms bill, animal welfare and gambling could be off the table, as well.

There had already been a feeling that gambling reform wasn’t going to be a priority as the new government settles into place. Comments that Truss made as she continues to shake up the upper and lower ranks of the UK’s legislative structure seem to reinforce that belief.

Government’s role should not be to tell us what our tastes should be. Too often we’re hearing about not drinking too much, eating too many doughnuts,” said UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The Conservative Party leader doesn’t want the government to be in charge of running people’s lives. She states that it is not responsible for telling everyone how to think or act, and opts for a softer approach to leading the country.

Truss will also reportedly scrap an obesity bill for the same reason. She may erase a ban on how stores can display sugary products, as well as reinstate advertising for junk food during the day. Currently, there is a prohibition on the advertising of certain products before 9 PM.

Undoubtedly, all of the legislative updates are going to cause friction. Another change that is sure to continue to be the source of large debate is the recent discussion about the removal of a cap on the amount of bonuses bankers can receive.

This is a recommendation of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, but it apparently has received support from Truss. The proposal, according to Kwarteng, is to ensure the UK can attract more talented financial banking experts.

Legislative Reform Still on the Table

These changes don’t mean, however, that reforms aren’t coming. Truss scrapped the energy bill, for example, because of some of the language it included. At the same time, she announced that she is allocating £150 billion (US$170 billion) to address the UK’s energy crisis.

What remains unclear is where the country goes in terms of gambling reform. If it scraps the white paper, it isn’t likely to drop the subject entirely. The Betting and Gaming Council didn’t respond to a request for input.

What is more likely is a do-over from scratch. Hopefully, it will include analysis and research that isn’t stale and outdated, as well as more input from the gaming industry. Under voluntary responsible gambling programs, the self-governing ecosystem has reduced the percentage of problem gambling, according to the UK Gambling Commission.

UK gambling’s ecosystem, including casinos, sports betting venues and others, shut down today. They are honoring the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. However, some, such as Grosvenor, will open in the evening.

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