After several delays, the UK government’s gambling white paper is set to be published today.
The paper will outline proposals to modernise the regulation of the gambling sector to fit the digital age. It will reportedly include a review of British racing’s levy system and plans for affordability checks on gamblers. The government launched its gambling review in December 2020 but ministerial changes have caused repeated delays to the publication of the white paper.
The review is expected to include measures such as a reduction in stakes for online slot games to match those found in land-based gambling, the creation of a gambling ombudsman to deal with customer complaints, and a statutory levy on gambling operators to pay for research, education, and treatment of problem gambling.
Of particular interest to the racing industry is what the white paper will contain on the controversial subject of affordability checks. The industry’s leadership believes that these checks are already costing the sport tens of millions of pounds in revenue due to requests for personal financial information from customers such as bank statements. However, recent press reports suggest that the proposals will be less intrusive and more akin to credit checks.
The Premier League’s recent announcement of a voluntary ban on gambling sponsorship from the front of matchday shirts means that stringent measures such as a ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship are not expected to be included in the white paper. The Premier League has also said that it is working with other sports on the development of a new gambling sponsorship code, which could be among the proposals.