According to reports, prominent Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured) is trying to block an upcoming white paper on the 2005 gambling law reform after it was seen as interference by the “nanny state”. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
MPs in controversy
In 2020, the UK government decided to take a closer look at the country’s gaming laws. The Gambling Act 2005 has regulated UK operators for nearly two decades, and Conservatives say it is time to update what has become “analog law in the digital age”.
More than ever among the deputies
According to a report in times This Tuesday, the forthcoming gambling law white paper is set to be released “in the coming weeks.” It’s a time that may not come soon enough for anti-gambling groups, but as the deadline approaches, the topic appears to be causing more controversy among MPs than ever before.
Some criticized those leading the review for supporting what they saw as a “watered down” version of the bill. This week, the first policy compromise emerged, with reports suggesting MPs have scrapped plans to introduce a shirt sponsorship gambling ban for Premier League teams. Instead, the teams agreed to phase out the sponsorship over the next few years.
Now, if the reports are to be believed, Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested that the White Paper should be abandoned entirely, calling it a “nanny state” interference.
According to a report in daily mail Friday, prominent Conservative MP Reese Mogg is trying to use his influence to block the white paper. The media company cited a source in Westminster who said: “He’s telling MPs the whole thing is a load of state nanny nonsense. He’s ideological with him – he doesn’t think the state has a role in dealing with problem gambling.”
Use stall tactics to prevent newspaper publication
For now, the source suggests, Reese-Mogg is using delay tactics to prevent the paper from being published. He supposedly requested clarification on a series of details surrounding the reform. While a source close to the MP denied that he was trying to obstruct the newspaper, they admitted that he requested these clarifications.
In contrast, former Conservative Party leader Sir Ian Duncan Smith called it “nonsense” to describe the restrictions as a state nanny’s interference. The MP believes gambling companies are making “huge sums of people’s misery,” also pointing to the prevalence of suicide among gambling addicts across the country.
SNP MP Peter Grant took a similar position to Duncan Smith. as stated in MailThe “daily delay” in publishing the white paper, he said, “is costing someone else’s life.” This week, MPs were told that 500 UK-based gambling addicts have lost their lives to suicide since the start of the review.
what happened after that?
Despite Rees-Mogg’s efforts to delay it, House of Commons leader Mark Spencer is confident that a gambling reform plan should emerge within the next few weeks. Its publication has already been long overdue, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused review to take a back seat for most of the past two years.
Although members of Parliament are supposed to have halted the sponsorship ban for the time being, there are a series of other policies due to be introduced according to media reports. Government sources have revealed that this will include a cap of £2-5 ($2.44 – $6.09) for online casinos as well as a ban on free bets and VIP packages for big players.
Another key element is the UK Gambling Commission getting “new powers and additional funding due to increased fees being paid by the industry”. At the same time, the land-based industry will also receive a boost through additional allowances for gaming machines and the option to open credit lines for large foreign exchange holders.
It certainly looks like some changes are in the cards for the UK gambling industry apart from the heated debate on the issue. Only time will tell if this reform will have a negative impact on the £14bn+ ($16.9+) industry per year.