UK General Election: What will the next Government mean for gambling in the UK?

As election day approaches on 4 July, we reflect on what some of the major parties have pledged in their manifestos surrounding gambling. 

depth uk vote

It has been just over three weeks since current UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced 4 July as the date for a General Election, which came as a surprise to most. 

Since then, we have heard from the parties vying to get the votes required to get into Number 10 Downing Street, including interviews, TV debates and this week the launch of some of the party manifestos. 

The UK White Paper

With the UK White Paper being published in April of last year, this election comes at a pivotal moment for the proposed reforms and the influence any new government may have on gambling reform going forward. 

The Gambling Commission opened consultations for four of the main proposals of the White Paper in July last year, and last month it set out dates for the implementation of new rulings and standards to be followed by gambling companies in the UK.  

The Government has also provided its response to the White Paper, reflecting on the areas of the publication and what is to come next. 

All in all, much progress has been made regarding the White Paper proposals, and to maintain this consistency going forward, the next party in Number 10 will have do what it can to keep everything on the same timeline. 

Party manifestos

At the time of writing, some of the parties to have released their manifestos include the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and Labour, with some interesting takeaways from each. 

Though the Lib Dems are unlikely to be the party with the most seats by the time votes are counted in three weeks, even behind the Reform UK party in recent betting markets, it is they who have given the most indication about their commitments related to gambling. 

In their manifesto, the focus is on combatting the harms caused by problem gambling. 

The proposals set out include the introduction of a compulsory levy on gambling companies thta will fund research, prevention and treatment, restricting gambling advertising, the establishment of a Gambling Ombudsman, the implementation of “effective affordability checks,” and a commitment to take action against black-market gambling. 

All in all, much progress has been made regarding the White Paper proposals, and to maintain this consistency going forward, the next party in Number 10 will have do what it can to keep everything on the same timeline

While Ed Davey’s party has underlined commitments to the industry, Sunak’s party has not given as much reassurance. 

Though the current Prime Minister was in charge when the UK Government released its White Paper, there was no indication or mention of the matter of gambling or the gambling reforms. 

While that may suggest nothing will change from where the industry currently finds itself, should the Tories stay in power, it does feel like an opportunity was missed not to make reference to the industry within the 80-page manifesto. 

The Conservatives' main rivals and frontrunners in the polls, Labour, did give their take on the gambling industry. 

Keir Starmer’s party have underlined that they will look at reducing gambling-related harm, as they pledged to continue working with the industry to drive up standards on responsible betting and gaming. 

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has even welcomed the pledge made by Labour, while it was at the industry body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February where current Shadow Minister for Sport, Gambling and Media Stephaine Peacock emphasised that the White Paper would be taken forward “regardless” of any election results. 

Going forward

It was the Conservatives who introduced the White Paper in 2023, but if the markets are to be believed it will be Labour who will be taking their place in government this summer. 

Everything so far has suggested that Starmer’s party will be committed to continuing the trajectory of implementing the proposals according to current timelines, and things shouldn’t change too much policy-wise from where we are now. 

No matter who is in charge of the UK Government this July, the next few months will be vital in ensuring the reforms are implemented efficiently and in the right manner for all stakeholders in the industry. 


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