GambleAware raises concerns over UK gambling legislation delay

GambleAware raises concerns over UK gambling legislation delay

GambleAware says delaying the overhaul of legislation until a new PM is in place puts more people at risk of gambling harm.

UK.- The industry-backed responsible gambling charity GambleAware has raised concerns about further delays to the UK government’s review of gambling legislation following the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

While the government’s gambling white paper had apparently been on the verge of publication, the government has confirmed that the review has been put on hold until a new leader is chosen. GambleAware claims that this puts more people at risk of gambling harms.

A new British prime minister is not expected to be announced until September 5. By that point two full years will have passed since the government began its review of the 2005 Gambling Act with a view to overhauling legislation.

The review has passed through the hands of several ministers along the way, with Damian Collins, the new under-secretary of state for online safety at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the latest man responsible following the resignation of Chris Philp.

GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond said: “We are deeply concerned by the risk of further delays to the gambling white paper; failure to act now puts more people at risk of gambling harms and only exacerbates what is an increasingly serious public health issue.

“We are concerned that the combination of the growing cost of living, ongoing impact of the pandemic and rise of online gambling may be creating a perfect storm, meaning more people are at risk of suffering gambling harm.

“We, and other third sector organisations, need a committed and consistent approach to funding. This would ensure future certainty and stability to provide support and treatment, prevent further gambling harm and make more people aware of the risks of gambling.”

GambleAware has repeatedly called for the review of gambling legislation to introduce a mandatory levy on gaming operators to replace voluntary funding of gambling harm research, education and treatment. Reports last month suggested that the government had finally decided against such a levy.

More recently, leaked details of the delayed gambling white paper suggested that it will propose passive affordability checks on losses of £125 a month, a default stake limit of £2 to £5 per spin for online slots and a ban on online VIP schemes.

However, it remains to be seen whether first Collins and subsequently the new leadership of the Conservative Party will want to put their own stamp on the proposals.

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