Gambling in 2019 party manifestos

Viktor Vangelov | Published 3 Dec 2019, 3:20 p.m.

The debate regarding gambling legislation in the UK has been ongoing for a while now. As you probably know, quite a few restrictive policies have been introduced lately.  Earlier this year, the new FOBTs £2 stake limit was introduced, which came as no surprise to anyone, considering that FOBTs have been branded the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ and there was increased pressure on Government to reach a decision, which happened towards the end of 2018.

Many UK operators reported decreased profit following the implementation of the new limit. Now, pressure mounts on the authorities to put forward a similar limit on online gambling. An all party parliamentary report suggests that.

And with the upcoming early election scheduled for next week, we’re going to see where each of the major parties stands on gambling and gambling regulations.

Labour

Although it was Labour that liberalised online gambling under Tony Blair, today’s Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn has a much more restrictive attitude towards gambling. Tom Watson who served as Deputy Leader since 2015 has spoken on many occasions seeking introduction of restrictive measures.

The Party feels that the current Gambling Act of 2005 is not in line with modern standards, so one of their key pledges regarding gambling is to introduce a new Gambling Act, a one that’s more suitable to the digital era. The party isn’t specific on whether they would seek to instantiate a £2 limit on online gambling, but party sources claim that such an option is surely going to be taken into consideration.

If Labour forms the next UK government, a new levy will be introduced, and the money will be used to fund problem gambling campaigns. Problem gambling will be elevated to the level of a public health matter, which means we can expect new clinics and introduction of addiction support services.

The prominence of gambling ads in sports is another issue that is treated in the 2019 Labour manifesto.

Tories

The Tories aren’t nearly as detailed as Labour in their manifesto. Still, the Conservative Party also acknowledges that the Gambling Act is becoming more and more outdated as time passes. Few candidates have expressed their view on certain gambling-related issues, including Julian Knight, current MP for Solihull and candidate for the same constituency, who said that children should not be permitted to play games featuring loot boxes.

Lib Dems

The Lib Dems under Jo Swinson are also putting focus on problem gambling and a range of other related issues. Many of their policies are aimed to match similar policies proposed by one or both of the two largest parties and – Tory and Labour. The Liberal Democrats pledge to place a total ban on credit card gambling, another issues that was heavily discussed lately. The Lib Dems are the only party committing to such a policy. They also claim to build on a promise made by largest operators to fund problem gambling treatment.

SNP

The Scottish National Party are calling for further devolution when it comes to gambling regulation which would enable Holyrood to enact legislation and generally have more freedom and be less dependent on Westminster. That’s in line with their general policy and attitude towards the union and the status of Scotland.

Other parties

The other parties that are expected to win seats like Farage’s Brexit Party, Plaid Cymru, the DUP and the Greens have not included provisions regarding gambling in their manifestos.