UK’s New Prime Minister, Liz Truss, Unlikely to Focus on Gambling Reform

Posted on: September 5, 2022, 08:44h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2022, 06:14h.

There’s been a changing of the guards at the top of the UK’s government. Following Boris Johnson’s resignation in July, Liz Truss is taking over as Prime Minister. But gambling reform is still a long way away.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss during a hustings event at the Holiday Inn, in Norwich North, Norfolk, last month. The UK’s former foreign minister will be the country’s next PM, but gambling reform isn’t any closer to becoming a reality. (Images: Alamy)

Truss beat out former British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to take the government’s top spot. The ruling Conservative Party was somewhat divided, giving her 81,326 votes to Sunak’s 60,399. The new PM knows she has a lot of work to do and has already asserted that she will reform the country. That includes updated gambling laws. But not before she addresses other items.

There have also been indications that Truss is more lenient toward gambling oversight. However, analysts believe Truss isn’t going to spend time on an issue that could further reduce an industry like gambling and cut tax revenue.

The new government white paper on gambling was to arrive this month. However, more delays are coming as Truss tries to put the house in order. The white paper may end up in the trash can in favor of a completely different set of regulations.

Gambling Reform Not a Priority

Logically, for consumers to gamble, they have to have money. Currently, the economic situation in the UK is not conducive to discretionary spending. Inflation topping 18% is a reality, and Truss wants to get this under control first.

The cost of living in the UK has increased significantly, putting pressure on much of the population. In addition, energy prices are going up and could increase more. Although the country doesn’t import gas from Russia, the latter’s decision to close the Nord Stream pipeline to Europe could impact prices everywhere.

I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” said inbound British PM Liz Truss.

As a result of everything that’s going on, reviewing reforms on gambling is likely to take a backseat to more pressing economic issues.

UKGC Slows Down

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) isn’t moving forward with some of its planned reforms, either. It announced on Sept. 2 that it will not introduce a requirement that operators stop marketing to consumers at risk of gambling harm.

The regulator won’t introduce the guidance until next February if it introduces it at all. The UKGC now wants to conduct a consultation with the industry, focusing on bonus offers and other consumer interactions.

However, it’s going forward with some aspects of its reforms. Starting this month, operators will have to enhance their identification of potential gambling harm. They will also have to develop automated systems to assist that process.

The consultation on the other topics will begin this month and last around six weeks, according to the UKGC. It then hopes to publish the results sometime in December.

That month, two current members of the UKGC’s board will renew their posts. John Baillie and Catharine Seddon will continue until April 10, 2024.