The UK Government is set to delay its eagerly anticipated review of the Gambling Act 2005 until after the Fourth National Lottery licence competition has concluded.
Exclusively reported by The Guardian, sources indicated that the governing Conservative Party will wait until after February 2022 to deliver its White Paper on the Gambling Act review, when the UK Gambling Commission is set to announce the winner of the next National Lottery contract.
If it were to transpire, it would mark the second delay to the landmark review, following a setback in late 2020 when the review was originally set to happen.
As a result, critics have reacted negatively to the news, noting that the government’s failure to fulfil its 2019 Manifesto Pledge would cause suffering to those who endure gambling-related harms.
“Every day at least one person takes their life because of gambling,” Liz Ritchie, co-founder of the charity Gambling With Lives told The Guardian after it launched a campaign demanding that a regulatory investigation into gambling-related suicides.
“Every delay means more families shattered,” said Ritchie. “When will the government act?”
It is reported that the delay is the result of a ministerial reshuffle, with John Whittingdale making way for Chris Philp, who said the white paper would be published “in the coming months”.
However, Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East, told The Guardian that the process of the review has gone on ‘for long enough’.
“The government made a commitment to reform our gambling laws in 2019. Two years later they are still deliberating while the online industry is weakly regulated, reaps vast profits and people continue to be harmed.”