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Labour to Introduce a New Gambling Levy if They Get in Power
- September 27, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Britain has always been one of the most liberal countries when it comes to betting and gambling legislation. After all, both are considered to be traditional activities and many UK-based operators have been active for decades, in some cases over a century. The previous Labour Government, led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had a pretty positive attitude and passed laws and amendments that allowed the establishment of online betting and gambling business.
Following the victory of the Conservative Party in 2010 and the subsequent victory in 2015 and 2017 the policy and the general attitude towards gambling remained largely unchanged. Most initiatives regarding gambling regulations came from the UK Gambling Commission which is in charge of regulating gambling and betting operators in the country, including its report on eSports betting, as well as other decisions, reports and statements.
The Labour Party Adopts a Restrictive Approach
UK casinos and bookmakers are facing increased pressure on some issues, particularly on the issues of FOBTs and problem gambling, which many feel are interconnected. The Government has announced that it will introduce restrictions on the amount that can be wagered on FOBTs, but the decision has been postponed. The debate on FOBTs started over a year ago, and the Government have already indicated that they consider altering the legislation that deals with FOBTs.
The restrictions on FOBTs wagering seems to be the least of the worries, as the Labour Party announced its revised position on gambling in general. Contrary to the earlier friendly approach, it seems that the party led by Jeremy Corbyn which is closing the gap on the Tories in latest polls, is going to propose some restrictive measures that might be branded drastic by some.
The Labour Party held its annual party conference in Brighton last week and on the conference it was announced that the party wishes to introduce increased tax levies on betting and gambling companies which will be used to fund medical treatments for problem gamblers.
The Aim is to Tackle Problem Gambling
The policy was introduced by Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy who made previous statements regarding problem gambling, indicating that the party will introduce a revised policy soon. Watson pointed his finger at betting and gambling operators stating that they target the most vulnerable people in the community in an attempt to fill their coffers.
The deputy leader said that it is preposterous that companies earn about £13 billion annually, but put only about £10 million towards addiction treatment programs. Labour insist that they are going to introduce a mandatory levy. Gambling companies, Watson argued, don’t always block the accounts of problem gamblers as they should. According to the latest UKGC report on problem gambling the number of problem gamblers and people at risk exceeds 2 million.
The report also suggest that the number of problem gamblers has been increased rapidly in the past 3 years. Labour also pledged to introduce changes in the way problem gambling is treated and it was suggested that the current methods which are used by the NHS are going to be revised. The Association of Bookmakers isn’t against this, on principle, and they stated that they would support every approach which is based on evidence.