Boris Johnson to ReWrite UK Gambling Laws as Industry Reels from New Curfew

The UK gambling industry could face a harsh blow if rumours that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings have taken control of a review on gambling legislation prove true

By: Andrew Burnett

The industry is already reeling from Johnson’s announcement of a 10pm curfew on pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues – casinos included in the strict measures barely a month after re-opening. 

That, says Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council “…may well have signalled the death knell for the casino industry,” claiming that half of the nation’s 14,000 casino workforce could lose their jobs as a result.

Despite the industry taking “sophisticated anti-Covid measures” in order to pass the reopening tests, Johnson’s curfew has refused to exempt casinos.

Dugher stated: "The 10pm curfew will slash casino incomes by up to 75 per cent and likely lead to half their workforce - some 7,000 people - being made redundant."

The BGC chief warned: "Without immediate and substantial financial help from the Government, perfectly viable casinos - which between them paid £1.3bn in tax to the Treasury in the last three years - will simply go to the wall.”

Worse may be on its way, however, as reports that Johnson and his advisers are becoming involved in a long-awaited review of gambling.

The Guardian newspaper stated that: “well-placed sources said Boris Johnson and his closest advisers were now steering the plans.”

They added: ‘“The PM just sees it as people being exploited and it’s not him,” said one MP with intimate knowledge of discussions within Whitehall.’

The Guardian report indicates that Boris Johnson’s closest advisor, Dominic Cummings, and Munira Mirza, who heads the Downing Street policy unit, are closely involved with the plan to ‘overhaul the 2005 Gambling Act.’

Until now the UK has been one of the best places in the world for almost everyone involved in the gambling industry. There are those, however, who see the regulations as way too flimsy.

A House of Lords group called Peers for Gambling Reform was founded this month, with Chairman Lord Foster of Bath stating: “Given that we have a third of a million problem gamblers, including 55,000 children, and one gambling-related suicide every day, action is urgently needed.”

The 150+ group of peers has detailed the action they want taken, including:

  • stake limits introduced, 
  • strict affordability checks,
  • restrictions on the speed at which online casino games can be played
  • a risk-measuring testing regime for new gambling products
  • a duty of care placed on firms to prevent harmful gambling.


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