The forces driving the review of the 2005 Gambling Act mean the resulting changes will be far deeper than former shadow culture secretary Tom Watson’s description of the law as “analogue legislation not fit for the digital age” suggests.
Watson has been “taken aback” by how quickly the sector has responded on key issues and thinks “consensus is very possible”. After stepping down ahead of December 2019’s general election, he has been replaced by a new type of political campaigner epitomised by chair of the Gambling Related Harm APPG, Carolyn Harris MP.
Harris, by contrast, sees the industry’s social responsibility initiatives, from the whistle-to-whistle ban ad ban to committing 1% of GGY to problem gambling by 2023, as “trying to paper over the cracks”.
With Harris’ criticism of the GC as “not fit for purpose” also ringing in everyone’s ears, Jake Pollard examines whether it is capable of overseeing change in its current form .
This perfect storm will still be facing those companies still in business when parliament resumes its daily business the other side of this extraordinary pandemic, whenever that may be.