Following significant delays, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is set to finally embark on its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, as early as next week, according to The Guardian

The review will see the government fulfil its 2019 General Election pledge by PM Boris Johnson to reform gambling for the ‘benefit of society’ by bringing the sector’s consumer protections ‘into the digital age’. 

The importance of the review has been heightened by the lockdown, which magnified consumer affordability and the strategies of operators in terms of consumer profiling and engagement. 

For payment stakeholders, DCMS is expected to undertake a wholesale review of all compliance and customer verification duties by operators and third-party system providers.  

The review has evoked diverse opinions and perspectives from across Parliament and Whitehall, with regards to how UK gambling should be governed amid changing consumer and technological trends.  

This summer saw the House of Lords Select Committee on ‘gambling’s social & economic impacts’ recommended 66 critical areas that required urgent action from the government.

The Select Committee report outlined the government needs to make wholesale improvements to what it described as ‘system failures’ across the UK business landscape including banking, loans and personal finance that had heightened the criminal effects of problem gambling. 

As the review has loomed, a review of gambling industry safeguards, duties and customer protections has highlighted ‘urgent changes’ that needed to be made to current regulations.

Chaired by Lord Foster of Bath (Liberal Democrat), the Peers for Gambling Reform was created to promote the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Gambling. 

Independent of government regulation, the UK gambling sector has undertaken sweeping reforms to its code of conduct and social responsibilities led by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

2019 reforms saw UK betting operators commit to a whistle-to-whistle ban on betting advertising during sports broadcasts. Meanwhile, in 2020, all BGC members committed to new standards on game designs, safeguards on digital advertising and reforming VIP programmes to be for over 25s.

The schedule for when the anticipated review, like a myriad of government pledges, has suffered at the hands of an overwhelming schedule, deepened by the pandemic and Brexit negotiations pausing much of the domestic political agenda.