Impact of the Gambling Act – UK – October 2008

Abstract

The full implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 in September 2007 represented the biggest change in Britain's betting and gaming laws in 40 years and its turbulent passage into law reflected both the scale of legislators' task and the power that the subject of gambling retains to excite public, media and political opinion. One year after its implementation, the Gambling Act continues to raise temperatures, but now does so primarily on the industry's side of the fence. This report examines the impact the Act has had on the main sectors of the UK gambling industry in its first full year of implementation and assesses both how the market has responded to the challenges and opportunities to date, as well as the ways in which it is likely to develop under these new conditions in the longer term. In so doing, it examines the hypothesis that "the reality of the Gambling Act has been a regulatory regime that offers only limited improvements in consumer protection, at a level of cost to the industry that threatens the future of several sectors already facing financial strain". Main report themes: To what extent have operators in different sectors taken advantage of changes in the law? To what extent have operators in different sectors been negatively affected by changes in the law? What changes have there been in legislation since the Act was fully implemented in September 2007? What other factors have affected the market in that time and how important have they been in comparison with changes in the law? What revenue trends have been evident since September 2007 and how are these likely to continue in future? How has the regulatory process changed with the introduction of the new Act and the creation of the Gambling Commission? To what extent are consumers aware of the changes brought about as a result of the Gambling Act? What are consumers' opinions of the changes that they are aware of? How can operators take advantage of changes in the law to target new consumers? How can they maximise return on any relaxations in the law? What can they do to minimise any negative effects they have encountered?

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