The Gambling Act 2005 came into effect in 2007. Now in 2020, many claim that the act is no longer fit for purpose and is long overdue a review.
Indeed, the 2019 Conservative manifesto included pledges that they would review the act which was also a significant concern of both the Labour and Liberal Democrats party.
The Rise In Online Gambing
In 2005 what was important is different from what are now major concerns 15 years later with a radically changed gambling scene.
Since 2005, online gambling has taken off, and this is why the Gambling Act now seems entirely outdated.
Back in 2005, the Gambling Act had three primary objectives:
Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime, disorder, or as an accessory to crime.
Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair fashion.
Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The Gambling commission by and large has been successful in these objectives.
Minimal Changes So Far
The only changes to the Gambling Act came about in 2014. This primarily was about taxing online gaming companies and had the effect of incentivizing many companies to move their headquarters to Gibraltar to avoid tax levies and where they need only pay tax of around 1% on their gross profits.
The Gambling Act of 2005 allowed gamers to collect winnings and pay no tax whatsoever on any earnings from gambling. UK residents were obviously very happy about these rules where other citizens such as those in the US may have to pay a substantial tax on their winnings.
The no tax rule gives gamers in the UK even more of a reason to gamble and sadly this is now the major issue.
It has long been known that a gambling addiction is a terrible social problem. Online gambling has made this a far greater problem. In previous decades problem gamblers had to physically get to a bookies or a casino.
Now people need only click a couple of buttons on their android phone and they have placed a bet or have joined a live casino game.
A Public Health Crisis
Gambling addiction is a now considered to be a major public health issue. Once people are spending time gambling, and spending money they don’t have, this causes major problems.
The changes that are being called for is for online casinos to have bans in place as far as advertising is concerned in line with the tobacco industry. A blanket ban of premier league football teams advertising gambling is also being called for.
It seems that whatever the sport, big gambling firms are sponsoring the event. For example, Bet Fred who sponsor the World Championship snooker tournament. The tournament is actually even named the Betfred World Championship.
In terms, of helping problem drinkers, a landlord may refuse to serve a customer after a certain number of drinks, and if the landlord continues then he or she is not being duly diligent. It is an offence for a person to knowingly sell a drink to a person who is drunk.
Similarly, it is proposed that there is an increase in social responsibility with questions being asked such as;
(1) “Does this customer have a gambling problem in any form / are we okay to allow this customer to gamble”; to
(2) “Does this customer have a gambling addition, are we okay to allow this customer to play, can this customer afford to play, how will the customer spend impact on the customer’s finances and how will this impact on other family members etc.”
Credit Card Ban & More Changes
A ban came into effect in April 2020 that banned credit card online gambling. The whole aim of gambling is to have fun with some money you have. It is a problem when you spend money you need for other things, or in the case of credit cards, spend money that you don’t actually have and will then owe.
Of course, for any law to come into place it needs to be debated and go through both the House of Commons, be drawn up and agreed to in the House of Lords.
It’s fair to say that COVID has delayed many proposed laws, but we look forward to the Gambling Act being revised and more regulations, committees, and non-profit organizations created to help gambling addicts.
If you feel you have a problem then please read our page on problem gambling,