Keystone Law Gambling and Regulatory partner: Current legislation not so antiquated

By Peter Lynch

Gambling and Regulatory partner at law firm Keystone Law Richard Williams has stated that the current UK gambling legislation is not as outdated as suggested by the government.

When launching the 16-week review of the 2005 Gambling Act, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden argued that the industry has evolved beyond current legislation.

But Williams has suggested that while certain amendments are necessary in order to help protect vulnerable consumers, current legislation is “not so antiquated”.

He said: “Whilst technology has certainly moved on significantly since 2005, the rose-tinted view that all gambling in 2005 took place in land-based premises, at bookmakers, casinos, racecourses or on piers is wrong.

“The 2005 Act regulated “remote gambling” using the internet, and operators such as William Hill had already launched their online casinos in the UK by the early 2000s, years before the Gambling Act 2005 became law. 

“If politicians took a history lesson, they would see that the current legislation is not so antiquated and, in my view, could easily be modified to deal with areas where technological developments have encouraged irresponsible gambling.”

Williams did, however, welcome certain aspects of the wide-ranging review, primarily higher risk gambling activity.

“Any review of legislation should concentrate on higher risk activity, such as online casinos, where vast sums of money can be lost in a short space of time,” added Williams.

“Controlling this higher risk gambling activity could already be achieved through tougher license conditions and revised technical standards.

“In my view therefore, it is not necessary to replace the entire Gambling Act 2005 Act with new legislation to deal with these issues.”

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