UK begins gambling reform despite leadership uncertainty


UK government ministers have begun the process of introducing potentially stringent new gambling restrictions, effectively breaking Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge that no new major initiatives would be launched until his successor is in place.

Damian Collins, the UK’s Minister for Technology & the Digital Economy, has instructed the Gambling Commission to begin consulting on introducing credit checks for people who want to make even the most modest wager. Increased restrictions have long been on the agenda for the Johnson regime, but it is hoped that a new leader will balance this stance with more consideration of people’s freedoms of choice.

Damian Collins insists that the consultation cannot wait to begin until a new leader is in place on September 5th, adding that these planned reforms have been in place since 2020. And in a letter to the Gambling Commission at the end of July, he asked the body to undertake an affordability consultation that is able to set limits on punters, oversee credit checks and control the spending of millions of Britons.

“It is my view that further progress in this area should not be delayed until the new administration is in place,” he said. “The DCMS and the Commission have worked closely together on the question of how financial checks could be implemented effectively and proportionately. As well as agreement on proposed thresholds for carrying out the checks.”

However, he also added: “It has been decided that announcements of substantial new policy (such as the Gambling Act Review white paper), should be left for proper consideration by the incoming Prime Minister and their new administration. I recognise this delay and the resulting uncertainty will be a disappointment to the industry, but I want to reassure you that we remain committed to fulfilling our manifesto commitment and publishing a white paper once a new Prime Minister is in place.”