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The long-awaited Gambling Act Review might be threatened by the upcoming UK general election, , introducing a phase of uncertainty for the iGaming industry.

An anticipated legislation reform

The last major overhaul of the UK's gambling laws occurred in 2005, two years before the introduction of the first-ever iPhone. Given the rapid evolution of technology and gambling practices since then, reforms have been eagerly anticipated.

In April 2023, the government published the, a document outlining proposed legislative changes aimed at updating and improving gambling regulations. This white paper was intended to provide a foundation for consultation and discussion before any formal bill presentation in Parliament.

However, just as everything seemed to be on the right track, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a snap general election for July 4, 2024. Recent polls suggest that the Labour Party holds a significant advantage, potentially jeopardizing the Conservative-led initiatives encapsulated in the white paper. The iGaming industry now faces a period of uncertainty as it awaits the election results and the possible shifts in legislative priorities that could follow. Was all the effort put into the white papers in vain?

The manifestos of the various parties have recently been presented to the public. While the Conservatives, the Green Party, the Reform Party, and Plaid Cymru fail to mention iGaming or gambling altogether, the Liberal Democrats and Labour outline their plans for the industry.

The Liberal Democrats intend to introduce a compulsory levy on gambling companies, restrict gambling advertising, implement effective affordability checks, and take action against black market gambling.

Potential Labour victory and ramifications

The Labour Manifesto reads: "Labour is committed to reducing gambling-related harm. Recognising the evolution of the gambling landscape since 2005, Labour will reform gambling regulation, strengthening protections. We will continue to work with the industry on how to ensure responsible gambling." 

According to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Labour's pledge to collaborate with the industry is seen as a positive sign. The BGC Acting Chair, Michael Dugher, emphasized the importance of ongoing cooperation to enhance standards in responsible betting and gaming. He :

"BGC has long treated Labour as not merely the official opposition in parliament, but as a government in waiting. We have worked closely with shadow ministers in recent years [...]. Whatever happens at the polls, our work to drive up standards carries on and we look forward to partnering with the next government in this vitally important work."

"On behalf of our members, the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry, and the 22.5 million people who enjoy a bet each month, we welcome Labour’s general election manifesto and its commitment to continue working with the industry to further drive up standards."

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