Labour promises to ‘strengthen protections’ within UK gambling


With the general election edging closer and Labour’s lead in the polls continuing to widen, eyes were nervously drawn to the party’s leader yesterday as he unveiled a manifesto that had the briefest of mentions of their plans for gambling industry reform. 

After Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for July, the UK gambling industry was sent into something of a limbo as it awaited  potential changes to the governing Conservative Party’s regulatory review. 

Predicted to oust the Conservatives with a landslide victory come July 4, Labour leader Keir Starmer launched the Labour Party Manifesto 2024 on Thursday, June 13, with a focus on wealth generation, green energy and cutting NHS waiting times. 

However, those hoping to gain an insight on Starmer’s plans for the gambling industry may be left disappointed, as just one paragraph referred to gambling throughout the potential PM’s plan for change. 

Under the ‘Build an NHS fit for the future’ section, the Manifesto read: “Labour is committed to reducing gambling-related harm. Recognising the evolution of the gambling landscape since 2005, Labour will reform gambling regulation, strengthening protections. 

“We will continue to work with the industry on how to ensure responsible gambling.”

Gambling reform has been a key talking point within the scope of UK politics in recent years as the Conservatives introduced its long-awaited white paper in April last year, aiming to review the 2005 Gambling Act and bring regulation into the digital age. 

However, with the Tories predicted to be replaced by the Starmer’s Labour party, it remains unclear whether efforts to carry out consultations and meet the white paper’s proposals will continue as planned or face further delays under new leadership. 

Last month, UK gambling trade body Bacta suggested that an early general election will impact the government’s White Paper gambling reform recommendations and could potentially delay them.

While some within the gambling industry may have been hoping for a greater idea on potential delays or changes, Labour’s Manifesto failed to provide an update, although did provide more insights into gambling than its Conservative counterpart.  

Conservative leader Rishi Sunak’s ‘Our Plan’ Manifesto, published on July 11, had no mention of the gambling industry, or any proposed changes referred to in last year’s white paper such as affordability checks or the research, education and treatment levy. 

Despite the Conservatives failing to mention gambling in their plans for if they beat the odds and remain in government, gambling has circled the governing party this week after Sunak’s close aide Craig Williams was found to have placed a bet on a July election just days before the GE was announced. 

Looking at Starmer and Sunak’s opposition, the Liberal Democrats placed more focus on the gambling industry, with plans to introduce “effective” affordability checks and reduce black market activity, while the Green Party failed to mention gambling in its manifesto also.