The Current Legislative Position and The Gambling Review|
(i) Overview of the Current Legislative Position and Introduction to the Gambling Review.
The current gambling legislation is contained in several different statutes. The most important ones being the Gaming Act 1845, the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 and the Gaming Act 1968. The Government felt that the law was in need of reform and had to be brought up to date.
In the words of Tessa Jowell the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture Media and Sport, “the modernisation of our gambling laws is long overdue.” In 2000 the Government appointed Sir Alan Budd to conduct a review of the legislation on gambling in the UK. This was completed in 2001 and the Government produced their response in 2002.
The Gambling Review Body made 176 recommendations; some of the more significant and relevant ones will be looked at in this study.
The key objectives of gambling law and regulation, set out in the review body’s report and endorsed by the Government, are:
- Gambling should be crime free, honest and conducted in accordance with regulation
- Players should know what to expect and be confident that they will get it and not be exploited
- There should be adequate protection for children and vulnerable persons.
These key objectives will be kept in mind when looking at the proposals the Government has put forward and whilst looking at some areas where the Government may have overlooked them.
The main proposal is to streamline the legislation and consolidate it into a single Act of Parliament covering all categories of gambling activity, except the National Lottery Acts. The Government feels that the current statutes are a mess, “repeated piecemeal amendment of the law relating to gambling has been an unwelcome feature of the deregulation procedure.”
The aim is to create a new, simple to understand statute that is up to date but which is also flexible to meet changes in the industry. The Gambling Commission will be set up to act as the statutory regulator and will be responsible for the licensing and regulating of all forms of Gambling from casinos, bookmakers and betting exchanges to all other forms of commercial gambling.
The Government feels that “in the interests of fairness and efficiency there is… a need to bring all operators of commercial gambling within a single system of licensing and regulation” except spread betting. Spread betting is regulated by the Financial Services Authority, but this will be reviewed once the Gambling Commission has been established and begun its work. Spread betting will be looked at later when we discuss the control of clients assets held by bookmakers.