Labour Pledges New Online Gambling Act ‘Fit for the Digital Age’

By Jamie Hill - 12 December 2019

Politics

Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn? Labour or Conservative? In a few hours’ time we will know who will lead the country for the next five years. The constituencies of both North and South Swindon, as you are probably aware, are held by the Conservatives. In the 2017 election, Labour increased their vote count quite staggeringly in both constituencies (although South Swindon is Labour Co-op) and come 12th December, the gap between both major parties is expected to be closer than ever.

Regarding the manifestos of both the Labour and Conservative parties, Labours manifesto is clearly more transparent than the Conservative manifesto, which is somewhat lacking detail to say the least. Labour have promised a variety of things including; free broadband for all, greater investment into the NHS and a greener environment which, according to the manifesto are all fully costed. However, one thing they are somewhat vaguer about is their promise of a new gambling act.

The Swindon local council have, for several years now, been toying with the idea of opening a casino within the town. On the other hand, it is online casinos that are now attracting the majority of gamblers and casino game players. The digital age has meant that the internet is full of online casinos and casino affiliate sites; Labslots.com, Paddypower.com, Williamhill.com are three of the more well known ones. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that advancements in technology are ensuring that it is becoming easier for casino sites to make money from their player bases, often to the detriment of the players

Currently, all gambling companies (online and offline) must abide by the rules set in the Online Gambling Act, however, this act was written in 2005 and is said by many to be outdated. It is for this reason why Labour want to introduce a gambling act which will be, in their words “fit for the digital age.”

Labours former Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, was extremely outspoken in criticising the industry and wanted a levy placed on all gambling companies in the UK. Earlier this year, a Swindon couple called for tighter gambling laws after their son committed suicide due to gambling addiction. They also wanted a levy placed on gambling companies so that the money earned could go towards combatting addiction and preventing it in the first place.

It is expected that Jeremy Corbyn’s new gambling law would come down harshly on gambling companies who rake in billions of pounds in profit per year. With that being said, it was Tony Blair’s Labour party who regulated the gambling industry in the early 2000s. They gave online gambling companies a large amount of wiggle room when it came to promoting their brand, the treasury did of course receive a nice fee from this UK government regulation. Corbyn will most likely introduce an act which will be strong enough to take a greater amount of money out of the gambling industry’s pockets and instead put it into rehabilitation centres and education stating the dangers of gambling addictions.

Gambling addiction reportedly costs Swindon up to £3 million per year.

For help with a gambling problem contact Swindon Gamblers Anonymous on 07519139710 or visit www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk.

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ