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The news of another delay for the release of the UK government white paper into gambling reform has been met with mixed reaction.

Some feel it’s a good thing but others, including Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), believe it is “inexcusable”. 

Many in the betting industry feel that the customer value will decrease as people will bet less due to the possible bookies logos uniform advertisement ban. Owners of some of the UK’s latest brand new casinos fear that the limits on max stakes at online gaming sites’ slot machines will also affect the revenues negatively and will hit returns on investment. 

July was meant to have seen the release of the white paper setting out just what the government has planned for the UK gambling industry. Reform was part of the Conservatives’ 2019 General Election manifesto but there has been slow progress made.

It’s important to change the 2005 Gambling Act as that doesn’t address the kind of industry we now have. We simply weren’t able to bet online or on our mobile devices back then. However, the problems in Downing Street that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has caused further delay.

No new policy statements can be made until the new Prime Minister is chosen. Either Rishi Sunak (pictured) or Liz Truss will become Prime Minister on September 5. The new leader will have a fair amount on their plate so the review of the white paper may well drag on. Any legislation isn’t likely to take place until next year.

CARE are dismayed at what is the fourth delay of the white paper. Their Senior Policy Officer is Tim Cairns and he believes that there is “a democratic and a moral case for green lighting this proposal, and finally allowing parliamentarians to get to grips with it”.

He spoke about the “many months of work and consultation with experts and campaigners” that had led to the white paper being completed and sent to Downing Street for a final review before publication.

Of course, that review may produce some changes now. It all depends on the views on gambling of the new Prime Minister. The white paper could see its proposed measures added to with stricter ones put in place.

The delay greatly concerns CARE and they fear it will “only cause more, untold grief”. Statistics indicate that one person a day commits suicide because of gambling harm. 

What concerns CARE even more is the rumours that “key reforms” may have been left out of the final draft of the White Paper. One of these is a compulsory levy placed on gambling companies. The funds received would then be used to help those affected by gambling harm and research the subject.

Mr Cairns sent out a challenge to whoever the new Prime Minister will be. They need to decide what side they are on. “Will they fight to help the vulnerable” or “side with the gambling industry”. CARE believes that the gambling reforms need to be “comprehensive”. Those would include cutting the amount of gambling advertising to ensure children are kept safe.

When people make payments into their gambling account, PayPal is the method often used. It’s quick and safe but the concerns are whether the player can afford to be spending the funds they are depositing. It’s likely the white paper will contain details of stricter affordability checks. Also possible is a reduction in the maximum stakes on casino games and slots, reported.

The wait goes on then for the release of the white paper. It’s not a subject that seems to be getting mentioned during the Tory leadership election. That’s something which will upset those campaigning against the gambling industry.