The Gambler – UK – April 2006

Abstract

Gambling in the UK has undergone significant change in both profile and nature over the last 10 years, with the introduction of the National Lottery giving it a far greater acceptance in mainstream culture and reform of taxation, particularly in the general betting sector, underpinning a period of significant growth. More change is on the way, however, following the introduction to law of the Gambling Act in April 2005, the first major change in gambling legislation in 40 years. As a consequence of the uncertainty that surrounded the final shape of the Act as it made its way through Parliament, the gambling industry has been priming itself to react to the new legislation over the last two years rather than attempting to second-guess the final shape of the law and steam ahead in any major developmental direction. The passing of the Act has not, in fact, fired the starting gun on any race to carve out new markets or any new battle for market share as it largely set out a framework for future governance, with the detail to be filled in by the new Gambling Commission. The industry's 'wait and see' position remains to some degree although the report does identify many areas in which movement has now begun. It assesses these trends in their widest context and provides timely analysis of consumers' betting habits and motives ahead of a period in which they will be more closely targeted by gambling operators than ever before.

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