Conservatives pledge Gambling Act review in manifesto

25 November 2019

The UK Conservative Party will conduct a review of the 2005 Gambling Act should voters elect it into government at the General Election scheduled for 12 December, the party’s manifesto has pledged.

It becomes the third major political party to commit to changes to Great Britain’s gambling legislation following the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party.

The manifesto sees the Tories promise to “legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online”.

It describes the Gambling Act as “increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age”. As such, it pledges to review the act, with a particular focus on tackling issues around loot boxes and credit card misuse.

Both loot boxes and the use of credit cards to fund gambling are elements already addressed in the previous parliamentary session.

In September, a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) committee called on the government to class loot boxes as games of chance, making them subject to the Gambling Act.

Credit card gambling, meanwhile, was subject to a consultation run by the Gambling Commission, which closed on 6 November. Many have suggested that this will already lead to significant restrictions on their use by gambling customers.

The Tories also pledged to “continue to take action” to tackle gambling addiction in its manifesto, though did not go into detail about what measures could be taken.

It becomes the second party to turn its attention to credit card gambling in its election manifesto, after the Liberal Democrats last week pledged to institute a blanket ban on their use.

The party also committed to new advertising restrictions for gambling and a compulsory levy to fund the research, education and treatment of problem gambling, as well as vowing to establish a gambling ombudsman to deal with disputes and complaints.

Like the Tories, the left-wing Labour Party has pledged changes to the Gambling Act, saying it would introduce new legislation "fit for the digital age”.

This would include establish new limits on gambling, as well as introducing a levy for problem gambling funding and new mechanisms for consumer compensation. Gambling addiction would also be treated as a public health issue, as part of plans to expand addiction treatment services, though as with the Conservative manifesto, this pledge is light on detail.

The two other parties that have released their manifestos, the Green Party and the Brexit Party, do not mention any specific plans for the gambling industry at all.