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How Keir Starmer and the UK Labour Party View Gambling Legislation and Regulation

This post looks at expectations surrounding the upcoming general election and clues about Keir Starmer’s and Labour’s views on the gambling industry.

How Keir Starmer and the UK Labour Party View Gambling Legislation and Regulation
How Keir Starmer and the UK Labour Party View Gambling Legislation and Regulation

With the UK preparing for an upcoming general election, there is no doubt that national policies are being scrutinised and poised for potential changes. A great example of this can be seen with gambling legislation and regulation, and it’s fair to say that many are concerned about how the industry could be set to change should Keir Starmer and the UK Labour Party win the election.

Therefore, in this post, we’ll look at expectations surrounding the upcoming general election, clues about Keir Starmer’s and Labour’s views on the gambling industry, how these views might differentiate from Rishi Sunak’s and the Conservative Party’s views, as well as what is expected to happen with changes to the Gambling Act.

General Election

Although there has yet to be a confirmation about when the next UK general election will take place, there is an expectation that it could be held in November 2024. As things stand, there are strong indications from various polling outlets that the Labour Party will win the election by a landslide and, although many of us have learned to expect the unexpected, this is likely to be the case.

Considering the above, it’s understandable that those within the gambling industry might be concerned about possible changes to legislation and regulation, but that isn’t to say that any such changes would be for the worse. 

Keir Starmer’s and Labour’s Views on the Gambling Industry

It is still unclear how Keir Starmer will treat the gambling industry and how it will affect both operators and affiliate sites like TopRatedCasinos. In part, this is because we are still waiting for an updated manifesto before the general election takes place, but there are also lots of significant things happening around the world in 2024 that have meant that it simply hasn’t been a common enquiry during interviews with the media. 

Nevertheless, we can look to historical moments at times like this and they paint a picture of a possible continuation of the current government’s commitment to a white paper called ‘High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age’. In short, this paper aims to address gaps in Tony Blair’s Labour government’s 2005 Gambling Act, which was released at a time when we weren’t all carrying mobile devices allowing us to gamble 24/7, and so on. 

We’ll dive deeper into the ins and outs of this white paper later.

Differences to Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives

Perhaps the biggest difference we can expect from Keir Starmer and a Labour government is a drive to make the required changes to the 2005 Gambling Act. Of course, this could be considered party posturing, but Keir Starmer suggested in 2023 that “Regulations need to be tightened”, while the Labour Shadow Culture Secretary of the time, Lucy Powell, stated that “We urgently need to update analogue gambling regulation so it is fit for the digital age, yet the Conservatives’ failure to govern means we are still waiting for proposals to be published and debated in Parliament”.

Ultimately, the only difference in approach to gambling legislation and regulation at this point seems to be a commitment to make changes – whatever they are. As things stand, the broader opinion seems to be that the Conservatives are all talk in this regard.

Changes to the 2005 Gambling Act

So, what changes can we expect to gambling legislation and regulation should Keir Starmer and the Labour Party win the next general election? In truth – nobody knows. However, if we assume that the government will continue down the path laid out by the ‘High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age’ paper, some of the following changes are strong possibilities:

  • NHS Funding: There is an expectation that gambling businesses will be required to pay a levy that will be used to fund education, research, and training in the NHS to help gambling addicts.
  • Financial Checks: Affordability checks are a possibility and betting businesses may be forced to consider whether a customer’s gambling is likely to be unaffordable or harmful.
  • Stake Restrictions: There are proposals in place to limit stakes based on age. For example, customers under 25 years old would be unable to bet more than £2 per spin on slot machines, while older customers would be limited to £15 per spin.
  • Advertising Rules: One of the biggest targets of the white paper is advertising, with suggestions that gambling adverts must avoid children. Furthermore, Premier League clubs will no longer showcase gambling sponsors on the front of shirts, while 20% of gambling adverts are set to focus on safe messaging.

It’s important to note that the above is subject to change, and this is particularly the case because Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have not yet released their plans for the gambling industry. However, the above can also be considered a guide to the direction that we can expect gambling legislation and regulations to move.

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