UK Forced to Accelerate Gambling Reforms
The British government has recently given in to the growing pressure from lawmakers. The government will proceed with a plan to reform gambling regulations in six months.
Culture minister Jeremy Wright stated in April 2019, the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) would take effect.
The government recently announced the budget cut from one-hundred pounds to only two pounds will officially occur in October 2019. This led Tracy Crouch, sports minister, to resign. Crouch accused the government of delaying the change.
What Lawmakers Are Saying
A number of lawmakers have called for FOBT curbs. The terminals have been blamed for permitting gamblers to accumulate significant losses in short spans of time.
During a parliament meeting, Wright stated, “The government has been clear that protecting vulnerable people is the prime concern, but that as a responsible government, it is also the right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account and provide time for an orderly transition.” However, Parliament has stated they want change to occur sooner. The government has heeded the request and the reduction will now be implemented in April 2019 instead of October.
The government was facing a losing battle concerning budget legislation in parliament. Many Conservative lawmakers backed an amendment that would have forced them to bring the timing of the cut forward.
Wright also asserted a planned increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid for by those who provide online gambling activities, would be brought forward in April as well. This will hopefully cover the negative impact on public funds as a result of the reduction to the maximum FOBT stake. Wright added, “The government will expect the gambling industry to work with it to reduce the effect of any impact on jobs and to support employees that may be affected by this expedited timeline.”
Gambling in the UK
UK gambling is regulated by the Gambling Commission, which works on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the 2005 Gambling Act. This act, which was supported by Parliament, caused significant changes to take place in UK gambling regulations. Under the act, a new protective structure for children and adults who could potentially be problem gamblers was introduced. The Gambling Act of 2005 regulated internet gaming in Britain for the first time.
The Gambling Act of 2005 also made way for large, resort-style casinos to be constructed in the UK. However, the casinos were under strict regulation. For instance, only one casino could be built every few years until the Gambling Act was completely implemented. Several towns and cities in the UK put in bids to be the host location for a “super casino.” These venues are similar to the ones in Las Vegas. Manchester was announced as the city where the first super casino was built in January 2007. The House of Lords urged the Government to review the plans for a casino in Manchester. However, the Government supported building plans for sixteen smaller casinos. These smaller casinos were located in areas such as Wolverhampton and Solihull. Prime Minister Gordon Brown then announced that the super casino plans for Manchester were halted.
The new changes in gambling in the UK are also largely due to gaming machines. The machines are divided into several categories, depending the stakes and payouts of the machines. The element of skill also helps to categorize certain machines, which are known as Amusement with Prizes or AWP machines.
The UK also has a national lottery. So far, the lottery has raised several billion pounds for Good Causes, a program that provides grant money to citizens. Twenty-eight percent of the revenue from the lottery goes toward the Good Causes fund and all unclaimed prizes. Twelve percent of the revenue is reserved for the state. The prize fund makes up forty-five percent of revenue. The remaining fifteen percent is dedicated to costs and profits for lottery ticket sellers and organizers.
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