General Election Causes Uncertainty Over Regulation of the UK Gambling Industry

Ellie Green
Authored by Ellie Green
Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2024 - 11:00pm

When a General Election is held it can lead to plenty of uncertainty. That particularly applies at present to the future of the UK gambling industry. A very close eye will be kept on the result of the election and how it will affect the industry.

Those who were betting on when the next UK General Election was going to be held probably didn’t appreciate the July 4 date. The odds were in favour of the big vote taking place much later in the year.

The announcement of a July 4 poll has caused more uncertainty in the UK gambling industry. There have recently been announcements made about future changes to both online and land-based casinos.

When the last General Election was held in 2019, the Conservative manifesto pledged to reform the UK’s gambling laws. Then Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the legislation in place was for an analogue gambling industry not the digital one that we have now.

It took until 2023 for the Government to publish their White Paper on gambling reform. It included measures that will finally bring legislation on the gambling industry into the digital age. Yet more talk followed but this year has seen some movement on the subject.

New maximum stake limits for online slot games were announced for September 2024. At present there are no maximum stakes for such games that continue to be extremely popular at UK online casinos that offer new players thousand of games and welcome bonuses.

Protecting younger players is important to the Government, told a spokesperson of, a website about legal casino offers in the UK. As a result, a new maximum stake limit of £2 per spin was announced for players aged between 18 and 24. For players aged 25 and over, the maximum stake limit is due to be £5.

Changes for land-based casinos have also been announced. These include allowing debit cards to be used for gaming machines. There’s also due to be an increase in the number of gaming machines allowed at land-based casinos. There would need to be responsible gambling measures put in place though.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission have announced new financial vulnerability checks for the future. These are set to come into force over four stages, beginning in August of this year and being completed in February 2025.

Then came the surprise announcement by the Prime Minister and a cloud of uncertainty appeared over gambling reform. It’s not a subject that has been given a great deal of airtime since the General Election was announced. Just how would a change of Government affect the UK gambling industry?

Since 2019 there have been several ministers with the job of overseeing gambling legislation. The chaos that hit Downing Street led to continual resignations and ministerial appointments. There had been a period of stability with Stuart Andrew as gambling minister. However, after the General Election was called, he announced that he’d resigned from his job. Fighting to keep his seat in the Commons is his main priority now.

The Shadow Minister for Sport, Gambling and Media is Stephanie Peacock who has a 3,217 majority in Barnsley East. If her seat is retained and Labour wins the General Election, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll become the new gambling minister.

If the Conservatives were to stay in power, at least we know what route they are taking regarding gambling reform. How Labour would regulate the gambling industry isn’t totally clear at present.

There have been calls by them for the new maximum stake limit for online slot games to be £2 for all age groups. If that was to be the case then it wouldn’t be good news for the gambling industry. It would certainly cost them revenue and having to reduce staff levels as was the case when similar action was taken against the gambling machines seen in High Street bookmakers.

The introduction of a statutory levy on the UK gambling industry is another important area. GambleAware believes that the industry “should be held accountable” for the gambling harm that takes place. The White Paper published last year supported a statutory levy. Will this still be in place after the General Election?

There’s a period of uncertainty for the UK gambling industry. Will the proposed changes take place and if so when will they be introduced? With a change in power looking likely, will that see new opinions on how the gambling industry be regulated being introduced?

A delay to measures does look likely however. Reforming the gambling industry may well again take a back seat with other areas such as immigration, the NHS and the economy taking preference.

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