ICE London: DCMS eyes implementation of white paper reforms by the summer

February 5, 2024 10:46 AM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, CDC Gaming Reports
February 5, 2024 10:46 AM
  • Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom

UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) deputy director Sarah Fox has said the government aims to have the bulk of the gambling white paper reforms implemented by the summer.

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Speaking at the opening session of the World Regulatory Briefing at ICE Vox this morning, Fox said the department hopes to publish the results of ongoing consultations within a few weeks and wants most of the paper’s reforms in place by this summer.

“It is a really challenging timetable”, she said. “A lot of the secondary legislation will require parliamentary time, which is outside of our control, but we do have a really robust plan to get this in place.”

Fox said DCMS recognised that it had taken a long time to get the white paper out. The process started in December 2020.

However, she said implementation was a priority, which is why the reforms are not reliant on one piece of legislation passing through Parliament, but are instead a mix of primary and secondary legislation, as well as voluntary action.

Among the reforms DCMS wants to see in place are the introduction of the statutory levy on gambling operators, the introduction of financial risk checks, and reduced stake limits on certain types of games.

Fox admitted that the upcoming general election may have an effect on the pace of delivery of DCMS’s goals by the summer, but she highlighted that many of the recommendations in the white paper are voluntary measures and do not require Parliament’s participation.

“We’re really grateful for all the work that’s happened with industry, with the sectors, to really start implementing those things, really get some really clear proposals on some quite crucial new things, such as a new ombudsman for customer redress. We’re working very closely with the industry on these things and those voluntary actions”, she said.

She highlighted the statutory levy as an important change to the UK regulatory regime, offering “a really robust process and having money that goes into research in the future”.

She said the white paper had received broad support across the House of Commons and she hoped that this was a sign that legislative aspects of the recommendations could be introduced swiftly.

She also highlighted the ongoing evaluation process that DCMS would be managing to ensure that the reforms were effective.

“This won’t be the end of gambling-reform regulation change in the UK”, she said. “As we know, things will always kind of adapt. We’ll keep getting calls to go further or to change things in different areas. But it will be a major change, a major step in progress.”