Gambling Business Group (GBG) Chief Executive Officer Peter Hannibal believes that a complete overhaul of the UK gambling industry, as well as the regulations and legislation governing it, is now inevitable. This has led him to urge the industry as a whole to start preparing for what he expects to be major changes that will have a great effect on the entire sector.
This call comes after all of the UK’s major political parties set out plans to make some changes to gamlbing laws in their respective manifestos, just before the General Election scheduled for December 12th. The Conservatives promised a review of the 2005 Gambling Act, and the Liberal Democrats made a similar pledge in their own manifesto. The Labour Party said they plan to introduce and new gambling act, which they say is “fit for the digital age.” The Scottish National Party has also called for changes made to existing gambling laws.
This led Hannibal to say, “A review of gambling legislation is now inevitable, whatever the make-up of the next parliament. We should look upon this as an opportunity to reset the narrative around gambling in the UK, but this will require a different approach from everyone, not least from the industry itself. This is going to happen, and we need to be preparing for it now.”
Additionally, Hannibal warned the low-stake retail sector, telling stakeholders that they have to make sure the sector does not become a secondary consideration in the political discourse. He said, “A common voice for the low-stake sector has never been more relevant and necessary. We need to examine ways in which the various low-stake gaming verticals can collaborate, at the very least on the big-ticket items such as empirical research to help inform the debate.”
“Whilst the Tory Manifesto is focused on internet gambling, this is an opportunity to reset the dial, and there are a number of things we must consider. Firstly, we must make the distinction between gambling and gaming.”
Hannibal also commented that although any changes made to existing gambling laws isn’t likely to take effect for a number of years, those who belong to the industry should already start planning for these possible changes, so that they are completely prepared.
“While it could be two years before we see any real movement, I think it’s essential that we start the process immediately after we know the outcome of the general election,” he said. “Members of the industry who were around at the time will remember that the 2005 Act was intended to be an ‘enabling Act’, designed to be able to accommodate and adapt to technological change.”
“Best intentions never materialised because the negative narrative killed off the political appetite. Both of the main parties are now on the same page, which makes change inevitable whatever the outcome of the December 12 election. This is an opportunity to start over and we must use it.”
If the changes Hannibal expects do come into effect, industry members likely won’t be surprised, as the UK gambling industry has come under the microscope throughout the year, with a few changes having already been put into place.