Our plans for implementation of the Gambling Act Review White Paper
Almost a week has passed since Secretary of State for DCMS, Lucy Frazer, unveiled the Gambling Act Review White Paper in the House of Commons. At the same time, we published our advice to Government for the Review.
Posted 3 May 2023 by Tim Miller
Already though, here at the Gambling Commission we are fully focussed on the work of implementing the recommendations that the White Paper made.
What does that mean though?
Whilst the implementation of the White Paper – which has over 60 areas of work for the Gambling Commission alone – will likely take a number of years to fully complete, that doesn’t mean we can’t make rapid progress in a number of key areas. Already, project teams have been pulled together to start work on the various recommendations that the White Paper has made and where actions have been set out for the Commission.
There are a number of White Paper objectives, which are intended to be delivered through the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), by the Gambling Commission. Where the Commission makes changes to the LCCP – the ‘rule book’ for gambling operators - we are legally obliged to consult on any changes and take any and all consultation responses into consideration before making changes.
It is our intention that the first set of White Paper-related LCCP consultations will be published this summer and pre-consultation engagement with stakeholders will have begun in a number of other policy areas. Importantly, these consultations will be sharply focussed on how changes are implemented. Whilst not all, many questions of public policy have been settled by the White Paper itself. Where they have, our consultations will not be an opportunity to reopen those debates.
Whilst we will move quickly to start implementing White Paper commitments, we will also want to ensure that as wide a variety of experiences and expertise inform the way that those commitments are turned into practical reality. History shows too many examples of well-meaning policy changes having unintended consequences for the public due to the way they were implemented in the real world. We will not want to make that mistake.
The Commission will be focussed upon our role in delivering the comprehensive package of reforms that the Government set out last week. The White Paper gave a commitment to increasing our regulatory powers to tackle illegal gambling and to facilitating cross-government collaboration on a number of areas, which will help us deliver on our growing regulatory responsibilities. The scale of work outlined in the White Paper is significant, and rightly so. This will be the dominant policy initiative for the Commission over the next few years as we move through the stages of development, implementation, evaluation and review. Stakeholders will also need to consider and input into each of these stages and it is important we make it possible to do this in a manageable way. The scale of change, even with increased resources in future, means there will be very little space for the Commission to consider other policy developments not included in the white paper.
The Government has published a white paper setting out how it wants gambling regulation to change. This, however, is not a change to legislation at this point and the current rules and regulations remain the same until changes have been made as a result of consultation or as a result of a statutory change, such as legislation, for example.
Of course, this focus on implementing the recommendations in the White Paper as quickly as possible will not distract us from continuing to robustly pursue compliance with our existing requirements. Where gambling operators fail to meet our standards we will continue to take action to protect consumers and raise standards, whilst at the same time playing our part in meeting the Government’s ambition of delivering gambling reform for the digital age.
Read the Gambling Commission’s advice.
About the author
Tim Miller is the Commission's Executive Director for research and policy.