The mass resignations of government ministers, which have ultimately led to Boris Johnson falling on his sword, have impacted the gambling sector.
Chris Philp, the junior culture minister, also serves the role of gambling minister, and has played a key role in overseeing the upcoming White Paper, which is to outline a raft of regulatory changes that the sector will have to deal with.
In his resignation letter, Philp told Boris Johnson:
“Given events over the past few weeks and months, I therefore think that you should resign as Prime Minister and it follows that I cannot serve in your government any longer.”
The PM would fall on his sword just a matter of hours later.
The results of the gambling industry review were reportedly going to be published today, but with the Prime Minister sensationally announcing his decision to quit Downing Street – alongside Philp and as many as 51 other political figures – it is likely that the Gambling Act reforms will now be delayed once again.
However Nigel Huddleston MP, who has also been involved in the White Paper, has claimed that it will still be published ‘in the coming weeks’.
Nigel Huddleston MP says that, the resignation of gambling minister @CPhilpOfficial notwithstanding, the gambling review white paper will be published “in the coming weeks”.
Which is what they’ve been saying since anyone can remember so, amazingly, nothing has changed.
— Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies) July 7, 2022
What exactly that White Paper will entail remains something of a secret, although a number of possibilities have been reported by various sources.
Sadly, the news isn’t particularly positive for online casinos. It seems increasingly likely that players will be restricted to maximum stakes of £2 to £5 in a gaming session, which could have ramifications on the development of new slots and table games in the future.
Interestingly, there were fears that restrictive affordability checks would impact the sector greatly, with rumours of a draconian new rule that would see anyone losing £100 in a month subject to a check that they can afford it.
However, that move was actually rejected by Philp, who described it as ‘unwelcome, disruptive and disproportionate to the risk.’
Some form of affordability checks are still likely to be introduced. They may only be used to monitor those who are consistently losing considerable sums of money, and would take the form of a ‘soft’ check that does not appear on any subsequent credit report.
It is also expected that there will be a ban on free bets and VIP packages – nobody is sure yet if that will be a blanket ban or reserved for those ‘losing’ players, while some online functions like auto bet and speed play will be removed from online casino games.
For land-based casinos, there was some good news – they will soon be able to legally increase the number of gaming machines on their premises from 20 to 80. However, the new rules only applies to larger properties….meaning that small casino firms will miss out on the potential gains.
Operators will likely be asked to contribute more of their annual revenue to funding into problem gambling treatment and research, although a proposed ban on Premier League shirt sponsorships could be vetoed if clubs agree to imposing voluntary measures instead.