After years of speculation, delays, and appeals for new legal limitations or concessions, the UK Government finally unveiled its White Paper on the country’s gambling business last week. The White Paper is an all-encompassing analysis of the UK gambling sector and the reforms needed to better safeguard players, guarantee the business works honestly and openly, and reduce the potential for gambling-related harm.
The White Paper represents a compromise between competing demands, with the UK Gambling Commission receiving extended authority to intervene in the business to better safeguard players from regulatory failures. The review was so pervasive that it even reached the Premier League, where teams voted to prohibit gambling company front-of-shirt sponsorships beginning in the 2025/26 season.
Industry experts have been weighing in on the White Paper’s potential effects on gamblers, businesses, and the future of the UK gaming market ever since the White Paper was published. For those who deal with responsible gambling, the review was generally praised.
To secure sustainable and transparent financing for research, education, and therapy, GambleAware’s CEO Zoe Osmond has said that the group is in full favor of the implementation of a legislative fee on the gambling industry. He said the White Paper was a positive development toward reducing the negative consequences of gaming. He also stressed the need to move quickly to implement the measures suggested, noting that many of them are open to additional discussion and debate.
For some, the proposals were lighter than expected; Richard Williams of Keystone Law, for example, said that the UK’s land-based business would benefit, while this would hurt the online markets, especially for sportsbooks. He also expressed concern that the execution of the suggestions would take too long.
“Let’s hope that these proposals will go far enough to satisfy those on both sides of the debate. What nobody wants is a further two years of consultation on some of these proposals, or worse still, the next Government including in its manifesto a further review of gambling legislation.”
Richard Williams, Keystone Law
The White Paper did not, however, exhaustively address all the issues raised according to some parties. Iain Duncan Smith, MP, said the assessment was generally positive but didn’t go “far enough” in proposing new restrictions on advertising to minors.
The review has altered the trajectory of the gambling industry in the UK because of the strong emphasis placed by the government on the regulation of online gambling and the preservation of player rights. This is in addition to ensuring that the land-based sector does not become choked by the massive iGaming market that has fundamentally changed the industry since the 2005 Gambling Act.