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  • UK seeking to reform its gambling laws
  • Boris Johnson could be ousted as prime minister
  • Proposals delayed amid political uncertainty

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Boris Johnson's political uncertainty could impact on UK gambling laws

The UK government has delayed publishing an eagerly-anticipated review into its gambling industry because of uncertainty over prime minister Boris Johnson.

Gambling reform is one of the biggest proposals of Johnson’s government and is considered essential if the UK is to bring its laws up to date.

The country’s gambling, lottery and sports betting industry is currently regulated by the 2005 Gambling Act, with adds-ons to cover the online gaming sector that has boomed over the past 17 years.

This legislation is considered unfit for purpose in 2022. And for the past 14 months the government has canvassed opinion as to what needs to change.

The UK has one of the most liberal gambling landscapes in the world – and many other countries, including the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, will be watching to see what conclusions the review comes to.

But the Guardian reports that the review – expected to be published this spring – will now not be available until May 2022.

The reason for the delay, it is claimed, is Johnson. The PM is currently under intense pressure to quit as leader of the Conservative party and cede power to one of his colleagues.

Johnson’s popularity has crashed since a sleaze scandal embroiled his government back in November 2021, which has resulted in the Metropolitan Police investigating parties held at Johnson’s Downing Street residence during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020.

Were Johnson to be axed then a new prime minister may wish to change the course of legislation currently working its way through Great Britain’s political machine – and that includes gambling reform.

What Is The Review?

The department for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) began its review in December 2020 to look into how the country’s gaming legislation could be brought up to date.

It has focused, among other things, on:

  • Gambling reforms to protect children from gambling
  • Reforms to improve protection for addicts
  • Changes to advertising standards
  • Further minimum bet levels for casino games
  • Banning or reducing sports betting sponsorship

The review is being conducted alongside the UK Gambling Commission and is likely to be heavily scrutinized by campaign groups and charities.

What’s more, other countries are likely to be keeping a close eye on the review too.

After all, the UK has been the leader in widening its online gambling sector over the past two decades and many other countries look to Westminster for a model of how, and how not, to arrange its gaming legislation.

In the US, where the online gambling sector is in its infancy, the conclusions drawn by the UK government could help inform current legislative proposals across a number of states.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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