The surprise decision of rain-soaked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call a general election on 4 July may well be met with disgruntlement from the land-based casino sector. 

Last week, the UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport published new regulations that it intends to implement in response to a consultation regarding measures relating to the land-based gambling sector from the gambling white paper.

These included allowing certain land-based casinos to increase their number of gaming machines to 80 and for smaller casinos to more than 20; allowing a 2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines in arcades and bingo halls, which after much political back and forth was seen as a significant victory for the land-based industry. 

However, with the government being dissolved by the King at the request of Rishi Sunak, it appears unlikely that the new framework will be passed by the government. 

Furthermore, with current polls likely signifying a change of government and a Sir Keir Starmer premiership on 5 July, implementation of the new changes to the land-based sector are highly unlikely to be a priority for the incumbent government. 

In a message to members released shortly after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise General Election for July 4thBacta President John Bollom said: “A snap General Election was always the biggest risk to getting the Gambling White Paper reforms passed into law.

“I am asking every Bacta member to contact their parliamentary candidates – especially the Labour Party candidates – to encourage them to support the land-based gambling reforms.

“We will be issuing advice to members on how to do this in the coming days. 

“It is imperative, if there is a change in Government, that the Labour Party finishes the job and supports modernisation of our sector to support both the High Street and seaside towns. 

“The reforms are so vital for our sector. I like to think they may have been delayed not derailed. Our campaign continues.”

In total, 87 responses were received from a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, adult gaming centre operators, bingo operators, campaign organisations, casino operators, individuals, local authorities, pub representatives and responses from the wider gambling industry.Industry participants in the feedback that led to the changes included 888 William Hill, BACTA, Betfred, Betting and Gaming Council, Buzz Group, Entain, GambleAware, Gambling with Lives, GamCare, Genting Casinos UK, Hippodrome Casino, Merkur Bingo & Casino Entertainment UK, Merkur Slots, Rank Group and Wexel Gaming.