UK Gambling Reform

The long-awaited White Paper setting out the UK Government’s proposed reforms to gambling regulation, ‘High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age’, finally arrived in April 2023.

This marks the first step in a long road of reform, which will involve numerous consultations, changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice, secondary legislation, new guidance and voluntary measures. We are here to help you keep track of all the latest developments, and the impact on the industry.

The UK Government commenced the Gambling Act review in December 2020 and finally published the White Paper in April 2023, setting out its proposals to ensure British gambling regulation is ‘fit for the digital age’. The proposals span six key areas, with multiple recommendations in each area:

  • Online Protections – players and products
  • Marketing and advertising
  • The Gambling Commission’s powers and resources
  • Dispute resolution and consumer redress
  • Children and young adults
  • Land based gambling

Whilst the gambling White Paper does bring some needed clarity to the direction of travel in these areas, many of the proposals are subject to further consultation meaning much of the key detail is yet to be determined.

This page will serve as a hub for all the important updates and information on the implementation of the White Paper, including our interactive timeline to help you keep track of key dates and deadlines.

At Bird & Bird, we will be with you every step of the way as the UK gambling reform plays out over the next few years. If you would like to talk to us about any of the proposals in the White Paper, and how they might affect your business, please contact one of the team.   

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White Paper Timeline:

Spring 2023

UK Government publishes it’s White Paper – High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age. The White Paper sets out the Government’s proposed reforms across six key areas. The proposed reforms are to be implemented through a combination of Gambling Commission action (following further consultation), secondary legislation and voluntary initiatives. 

Summer 2023

On 26 July 2023, the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) the first three public consultations concerning proposals contained in the White Paper.

The Gambling Commission’s consultation will run until 18 October 2023 and covers the following topics:

  • Improving consumer choice on direct marketing
  • Strengthening age verification in premises
  • Remote game design
  • Remote gambling: financial vulnerability and financial risk (i.e. financial risk checks)
  • Extending Personal Management Licence (“PML”) requirements
  • Changes to Regulatory Panels

DCMS is consulting on:

  • Proposals for a maximum stake limit for online slot games. This consultation closes at 11:55pm on 20 September 2023.
  • Proposals for measures to adjust outdated regulatory restrictions applying to the land-based gambling sector. This consultation closes at 11:55pm on 4 October 2023.
Autumn 2023
  • 20 September 2023 – DCMS’ consultation on online slot stake limits closes
  • 4 October 2023 – DCMS’ consultation on adjusting restrictions on land-based gambling sector closes
  • 17 October 2023 – DCMS publishes its consultation on the statutory gambling levy
  • 18 October 2023 – Gambling Commission’s consultation on financial risk checks, improving consumer choice on direct marketing, strengthening age verification in premises, remote game design, extending PML requirements, and changes to regulatory panels closes
  • 29 November 2023 - Gambling Commission launches consultation, which includes proposals related to customer tools and socially responsible gambling incentives (“Autumn Consultation”)
Winter 2023/2024
  • 14 December 2023: DCMS consultation on the statutory levy closes.
  • 15 December 2023: Gambling Commission launches its consultation on changes relating to financial penalties and financial key event reporting (“December Consultation”)
  • 21 February 2024: Gambling Commission’s Autumn Consultation closes
  • 22 February 2024: Gambling Commission confirms plan for introduction of financial risk checks, including introduction of pilot enhanced financial risk check programme
  • 23 February 2024: Response to DCMS’ consultation on online stake limits published
Spring 2024
  • 15 March 2024: Gambling Commission’s December Consultation closes.
  • 27 March 2024: Gambling Commission’s consultation response on the timing of regulatory returns is published.
  • 1 May 2024: Gambling Commission publishes its Summer Consultation response.
  • 1 May 2024: BGC publishes its voluntary “Code on Customer Checks and Documentation Requests Based on Spend”.
  • 1 May 2024: Gambling Commission begins accepting PML applications from licensees’ CEOs and MDs who do not currently hold a PML.

Summer 2024
  • 1 June 2024: Gambling Commission begins accepting PML applications from MLROs and relevant AML/CTF roles who do not currently hold a PML.
  • 1 July 2024: New amended LCCP requirement comes into force which requires all licence holders to submit regulatory returns quarterly.
  • 1 August 2024: Gambling Commission begins accepting PML applications from Chairs of the Board of licensees who do not currently hold a PML.
  • 30 August 2024: Remote operators will be required to conduct financial vulnerability checks at £500 net deposits over rolling 30 days.
  • 30 August 2024: Largest operators required to participate in Financial Risk Assessment pilot scheme. 
Autumn 2024
  • September 2024: Maximum stake limits on online slot games to be introduced (£5 per spin for players aged 25+; £2 per spin for players aged 18-24).
  • 31 October 2024: For remote operators, a technical update to RTS security requirements to reflect the 2022 update to ISO 27001.
  • November 2024: Licensee CEO/MDs, key AML/CTF roles and Chairs of the Board will be required to hold a PML.
Winter 2024/2025
  • 17 January 2025: Remote gambling operators (except lottery operators) will need to give customers the ability to opt-in to receive direct marketing based on the specific gambling product types they are interested in and the channels through which they want to receive direct marketing communications.
  • 17 January 2025: New remote game design requirements come into force, including:
    • Minimum 5-second game speed for non-slot games;
    • Ban on autoplay for all online gambling products;
    • Ban on features that allow playing multiple games simultaneously;
    • Operators must display net spend and net time information for casino games; and
    • Ban on feature that allow the customer to reduce the time until the result is presented.
  • 28 February 2025: Remote operators will be required to conduct financial vulnerability checks at £150 net deposits over 30 rolling days.
Spring 2025

31 March 2025: Pilot phase for Financial Risk Assessments ends.

Summer 2026
Voluntary commitment to end front-of-shirt sponsorship by gambling companies comes into force.

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