Despite a strong, if uninspiring, reputation, the gambling industry has a relatively relaxed approach to regulation. In fact, successive UK governments have done little to tighten gambling rules in the last decade. This has resulted in millions of dollars being wagered each day in a non-regulated environment. It is estimated that about 400 people in England die each year due to gambling-related issues.
As the online gambling market has become increasingly popular in recent years, the UK has become a key gambling market in the world. This is because of the emergence of technology, social media, and the proliferation of mobile devices. The country is home to some of the world’s most successful gambling companies, including Paddy Power, Partypoker, and Full Tilt. Several of these operators have expanded their offerings online.
In the UK, gambling has become a subject of interest for several politicians. Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, for example, led calls for tighter restrictions. Philip Davies, a Conservative Party lawmaker, has been one of the industry’s biggest critics. He has also enjoyed a vigorous exchange of views with gambling companies. He has even accepted tens of thousands of pounds in hospitality from the industry.
As a result of this relationship, the gambling industry has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds cultivating politicians. The gambling industry has met with government officials almost weekly, including at least 35 meetings with online gambling industry representatives in the last year. These meetings have been documented in documents from Freedom of Information requests.
The UK government has announced plans to review gambling legislation. Its goal is to bring online gambling in line with the rest of the nation’s gambling industry. But the government has delayed publishing the review four times. It is expected that online gambling will not be legalized this year. However, it is expected that online gambling will be legalized within the next few years.
Since the end of 2019, the gambling industry has increased its lobbying efforts. It has also spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on cultivating lawmakers. Many lawmakers have accepted speaking opportunities and free tickets to top-flight sporting events from gambling companies. These lawmakers have also taken part in parliamentary debates on gambling legislation.
In addition to its influence on lawmakers, the gambling industry has also had an effect on public opinion. In 2021, the gambling industry was the focus of front page news in the UK due to the suicides of young men with addiction issues. This resulted in a massive increase in public pressure on the government to change gambling laws.
The Gambling Commission has responded to this pressure by reducing spin speeds on online slots and banning credit card gambling. The commission is also working to create an industry-wide system to monitor customer activity.
A review of gambling legislation was announced in January. Key proposals were removed from a draft white paper. However, the industry was warned that it would not adopt the proposal unless it was forced to by the regulator.