As we enter manifesto week in what has been a turbulent election campaign so far, the eyes of the UK gambling industry will once again be cast onto the country’s key political stakeholders. 

Prior to Rishi Sunak’s surprise decision to call the election, the industry had found a degree of clarity in what the future holds for framework and regulation. 

However, as we move forward into a new political era for the UK, the question remains of whether that work will be undone and previous decisions will be altered. 

Imogen Moss, Solicitor for licensing law firm Poppleston Allen emphasised that the wider question for the industry is ‘whether changes of the review will be implemented as planned or confined to the legislative scrapheap?’

In all likelihood, there will be further knowledge outlined on this this week when the surging Labour Party, led by Sir Keir Starmer, detail their plans for the country should they be granted with the keys to number 10 on 4 July. 

On the day that the Tories took to Silverstone to reveal their full manifesto, Moss stated her belief that ‘A delay seems most likely – nothing will happen in respect of the DCMS work on gambling reform until later into the summer now, at the earliest’.

She added: “The Gambling Commission should stay on the same route, with consultations already active and changes published relating to direct marketing, age verification on premises, remote game design, financial vulnerability and financial risk online and Personal Management Licence requirements.

“We will start to see these taking effect in August. There will also be changes to the timing and period for the regulatory returns.

“Elections are always an uncertain time for any sector, but much of the hard work has been done already by gambling industry professionals. The statutory instruments were likely only a few weeks away before the election was announced.  

“Those changes which require updates to legislation are on hold for now, including changes to machine entitlements in AGCs and bingo venues, the introduction of a Levy and an Ombudsman and cashless payments.”

She also underlined that moving forward, safer gambling should remain a vocal point to any legislative changes, so some of the measures.

Generally speaking, the Labour Party has been supportive of White Paper changes. However, it isn’t unlikely that a new cabinet looks to make its own mark on such an emotive and important issue upon entering government. Nonetheless, Moss stated that ‘gambling reform may not be high on its agenda’. 

She concluded: “There will be a new gambling minister come what may, following the resignation of Stuart Andrew. Should, as it seems likely, there be a new Labour Government, it may be that the former shadow minister Stephanie Peacock will step into the role of gambling minister. She has spoken at the Betting & Gaming Council’s recent Annual General Meeting and has taken part in recent debates in parliament regarding gambling. 

“There could be a re-shuffle, however, should Labour form a Government and we could get a totally fresh face in the role of gambling minister who may wish to revisit some of the proposed changes.

“So far in the lead-up to the election, and over recent years, the bigger parties have had similar views on gambling policy. And we don’t yet have their manifestos.  

“In the run-up to the July 4th election, the best course is to keep engaging with your trade associations and up to date on any forthcoming LCCP changes by subscribing to the Gambling Commission’s E-Bulletin. The likelihood is that little will happen between now and the election, and with summer recess shortly after, we may be looking to autumn until we get any further substantial updates.”