The UK’s Gambling Regulator Is Anxious to Launch White Paper Recommendations

Posted on: May 4, 2023, 07:56h. 

Last updated on: May 4, 2023, 07:56h.

The UK just released its gambling white paper, which will introduce a series of changes to the country’s gambling space. One of these includes giving the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) more power, and the gaming regulator is ready to get busy. To do that, it doesn’t feel it needs input from industry players.

The UK Gambling Commission's sign inside its office
The UK Gambling Commission’s sign inside its office. The gaming regulator wants to move quickly on the government’s new gambling white paper. (Image: UKGC)

The extensive white paper, covering 268 pages, has 60 different topics that the gaming industry will address. The government’s design has some changes arriving before the end of the summer, although it welcomes industry input.

Other items on the list may take longer to address, but that isn’t an obstacle for the UKGC. In a blog post on May 3, Executive Director Tim Miller asserted that the regulator will make “rapid progress” in bringing some of the reforms to the front.

Stronger Codes of Practice

The UKGC maintains a list of Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) that covers, among other things, the prerequisites for licenses and how operators must oversee their activity. This is one of the documents the regulator routinely refers to when it fines companies for violating the rules.

The LCCP is going to incorporate several changes the white paper recommends for the industry. Miller explained that the UKGC has already put together teams to address the topics and how to incorporate the updates into the LCCP.

Miller also hinted that there won’t be much two-way conversation regarding the implementation of the changes. He asserted, “Whilst not all, many questions of public policy have been settled by the White Paper itself. Where they have, our consultations will not be an opportunity to reopen those debates.”

However, the UKGC might stick to the UK government’s official playbook and not make up rules on its own. Miller stated that the magnitude of the reforms means that the regulator won’t have a lot of time to discuss “policy developments not included in the white paper.”

The head of the UKGC’s research and policy division closed by reiterating the fact that consultations are needed. He explained that the white paper itself is “not a change to legislation,” adding that “the current rules and regulations remain the same until changes have been made.” Those changes could be the result of discussions or new legislative efforts.

Land-based Casinos Come Out Ahead

There’s a general feeling that the online gaming industry will receive the biggest blow through the gambling reforms. This is a concept that has been circling for almost a year. Provisions in the reforms, such as a possible expansion of gaming machines, seem to support the theory, as well.

There’s also a theory that the land-based segment received some last-minute help as the final touches were being put on the white paper. The Guardian asserted this week that Conservative MP Philip Davies met with culture secretary Lucy Frazer ahead of the white paper’s release.

Davies, who has previously said that the UKGC may have outlived its usefulness, allegedly pushed for Frazer, who spearheaded the reforms, to go easy on casinos. He lobbied to have a measure in the white paper that would allow casinos to offer credit, which made it into the final draft.

It’s no secret that Davies has been a supporter of the gaming industry – he’s consistently fought for it to be able to operate without far-reaching oversight. He also co-chairs the government’s all-party parliamentary group on betting and gaming.

He won the spot following Scott Benton’s ouster for allegedly offering to lobby for a gambling company in exchange for money. The gambling company, however, was fake and it was just a reporters’ sting that set Benton up.

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