The morning after the night before and the United Kingdom has woken up to at least some certainty concerning the government of the country and the road it will follow during the course of the next five years.
The iGaming industry has no doubt been watching on over the past six weeks of the UK General Election campaign, with nervousness of operators likely, as to what the result of yesterday’s polling at the ballot box would be. Indeed, we have covered over the past couple of months, the potential ramping up of the regulation and legislation that operators who are licensed by the Gambling Commission, have to adhere too.
During this week we have heard the news that the Conservative Peer Lord Chadlington opine the view that tighter regulation is required, with the 2005 Gambling Act revisited, to take into account the exponential growth of online gambling within the UK over the past 14 years, since its publication. Certainly though a Conservative party victory yesterday, should however, allow the iGaming industry to breathe a pretty large sigh of relief.
At the start of the General Election campaign, one of the most vocal proponents against the gambling industry, the former Deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, announced that he would not be standing on the 12th December. Watson, had not been backwards in coming forward with regards his views on the industry as a whole and his exit stage left from the political frontline, would have been welcomed by many who have a vested interest in the iGaming industry.
Indeed, the party that introduced the widely revamped gambling legislation that brought into being the 2005 Gambling Act, thus loosening the shackles of what was perceived over regulation at the time, the Labour Party, were widely seen as a threat to the industry, should this morning it would be Jeremy Corbyn walking into 10 Downing Street, instead of Boris Johnson.
But there are still very real concerns as to what the future holds with regards regulation and legislation of the gambling industry, even with a majority Conservative administration in situ for realistically the next five years.
At the beginning of November, we reported on the fact that the Gambling Related Harm All Parliamentary Group proposed a maximum £2 bet limit stake on all online slot machines. Thus mirroring the maximum stake imposed on the fixed odds betting terminals, found within the shop estates of bookmakers up and down the country.
Whilst improving awareness of gambling harm and the funding of initiatives to deal with this area is of upmost importance. Notwithstanding the promotion of responsible gambling tools and utilities such as GamStop and BetBlocker for consumers, allowing players to help control their play.
An introduction of bet limits, in addition to the already in place intrusive source of wealth checks, is something the industry should be somewhat alarmed at.
An individual can now enter any land based casino in the country without the 24 hour cooling off period, thanks to the 2005 Gambling Act and is able to play without stringent bet limits in place. The requirement to provide documentation to prove that they can also afford to play is not required in a land based casino, unlike when playing online.
Therefore, the iGaming industry still needs to be aware that a potential change to the rules and regulations that governs the UK marketplace could still take place, this despite the Conservative party winning yesterday’s election.
So will the Conservative majority ease fears on overregulation? To that question and whilst the result is better than a Labour victory for the industry, the jury is still out.