In December 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) began a review of the current Gambling Act 2005, a report by the Guardian claims gambling operators have appealed to UK Treasury officials. The report suggested the UK operators warned tougher restrictions would cost the Treasury dearly along with driving customers to the black market.
Opposing Tougher Restrictions
Although the review of the gambling act is ongoing, the White Paper is due to be released at the end of May. However, the industry is opposing tough restrictions, insisting these would push players towards the black market. The Guardian, after a Freedom of Information request, gained access to information about a meeting that took place between Flutter, Entain, and Bet365 in October 2022. The meeting was not disclosed to the public as ministers were not involved, only tax officials. The Guardian reported, “It is vital the government takes a holistic view of tax and regulatory changes over the coming months or there is the very high risk that the UK’s remote gambling sector is hit in a way that not only reduces economic and fiscal contribution but also increases levels of gambling-related harm by incentivising a shift to unlicensed gambling operators that pay no UK Tax.”
Benefit the Black Market
The operators warned tougher restrictions on the gambling industry would only benefit the black market which is unregulated. To further their claim, the operators presented a report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers, showing an increase in the share of black-market operators, and an increase in stricter gambling laws would further push customers toward these unregulated sites. Although the details of proposed changes to the Gambling Act have not yet been disclosed, possible changes floated include a restriction on deposits on slots and restrictions on VIP schemes. Also, affordability checks may be introduced, which according to the Betting and Gaming Council could cause unintended consequences. Head of the BGC Michael Dugher urged regulators of the Gambling Act to ensure the well-being of the gambling market within the UK.