Many saw it coming, but the style in which the Conservatives are back in power has left several political pundits groping for answers. And, while they scratch their scalp over what went right of what was left, gambling operators in the UK have had their prayers answered.
For the UK’s betting and casino gambling industry, it has been challenging. Stricter regulations, reduced maximum stake limits on FOBT’s, and reports of increased gambling addiction have been negatively impacting their revenue.
In the face of challenges in the domestic market, the gambling operators in the UK have already been exploring and focussing on online gambling and overseas markets.
The opposition – the Labour party in particular – called for the stricter imposition of regulations and a range of measures that could have been a nightmare for gambling businesses in the country.
Why Conservatives Were Gambling Industry’s Favorite
For both operators and stakeholders in the UK’s gaming industry, if there could have been an ideal choice in this election, it had to be the Tories.
The Labour since the start of their election campaign were harsh on the gambling industry. In their election manifesto, the Labour party promised a new Gambling Act with more stringent regulations for both land-based casino gambling facilities and online betting operators.
Labour leader Tom Watson has been demanding a fully revised Gambling Act that would probably include a ban on gambling with credit cards, ban on gambling adverts and increased spending on social programs for gambling companies. He said that problem gambling in the UK is an epidemic in disguise.
Labour wanted to have a mandatory levy on gambling companies. It demanded a review of licenses of all online gambling operators in the UK who gained their gambling licenses before 2014 along with creating a gambling ombudsman to ensure strict compliance of the gambling laws.
On the other hand, the Conservatives have been fairly liberal with the gambling industry. They had earlier rejected the UK Gambling Commission’s demands to introduce a mandatory levy on casino operators in the country.
Even in their election manifesto, the Conservative party just skimmed through the “gambling question” by saying that they would look forward to revisions in the Gambling Act 2005, to make sure it is updated and in tune with the technical and regulatory evolutions in regulated gambling markets across the globe.
Brushing past the question of what revisions they would bring to the Gambling Act, the Conservatives, in their election manifesto said: “Also, given how the online world is moving, the Gambling Act is increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age. We will review it, with a particular focus on tackling issues around loot boxes and credit card misuse.”
At the time of writing, the Conservative party has won 365 seats with a 43.6 percent vote share, Labour has been left far behind with only 203 seats and a 32.2 percent vote share. The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats have secured 48 and 11 seats respectively.