Insights Was the White Paper all in vain? Will the UK general election impact the progress of gambling reform?

With the UK general election on 04 July 2024 fast approaching, all three major UK political parties –Conservative , Labour and Liberal Democrats – have now released their manifestos and left us to consider what the outcome of the election may mean for the White Paper’s implementation. With a likely change in government coming, a pressing concern that faces the gambling industry in particular is whether an incoming alternative government will seek to revisit any elements of the White Paper and make their own mark on the next iteration of British gambling regulation.


During the 2019 UK general election, we looked at the-then manifestos of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats and discussed them here. There was a consensus amongst the parties at the time that reform to the Gambling Act 2005, and more broadly gambling regulation, was needed. The Conservative party vowed to “continue to take action to tackle gambling addiction”, Labour stated it would address “the adverse impacts of gambling…” and the Liberal Democrats pledged they would “introduce further measures to protect individuals, their families and communities from problem gambling”.

Is there any indication of deviations in the 2024 manifestos?

Quite surprisingly, the Conservative party in their 80 paged 2024 manifesto have made no reference to ‘gambling’. Perhaps this is an indication that the party, should they win the general election, have no immediate plans to divert from current proposals set out in the White Paper and recent government responses to such proposals (and resulting legislative and regulatory change that will follow).

In a somewhat similar vein, Labour only made reference to gambling on page 103 of its 136 paged manifesto, which states that the party is “…committed to reducing gambling-related harm…” and the party “… will reform gambling regulations, strengthening protections”. As would be expected, the manifesto is not the place for detail and therefore we are left guessing whether a Labour government would change tack at all. Perhaps, on balance and considering where in the manifesto gambling is mentioned, such reference to gambling in the manifesto could well be construed as an implicit confirmation that the Labour government will continue to introduce changes to gambling regulations as per the White Paper.

Contrastingly, the Liberal Democrats in their 2024 manifesto have pledged to “… Combat the harms caused by problem gambling by:

i. Introducing the planned compulsory levy on gambling companies to fund research, prevention and treatment.

ii. Restricting gambling advertising.

iii. Establishing a Gambling Ombudsman to redress wrongs.

iv. Implementing effective affordability checks.

v. Taking tough action against black market gambling”.

Nothing remarkable here, as these simply ape the core proposals in the White Paper.


As of 14 June 2024, the Labour party is currently leading in the general elections polls, and if they win there will be a new Labour gambling minister. What remains unclear is whether the new minister will seek to make their own mark on key elements of reform, not least changes in relation to financial vulnerability checks. The current (but potentially outgoing Government) worked with the Gambling Commission and the industry to establish the Industry Code. This is not universally supported, certainly by the vocal “anti-gambling” lobby, who may see a change in Government as a lobbying opportunity.
Until the political persuasion of the next Government is confirmed, we cannot say whether there will be any material changes made to the current approach in reforming gambling regulations in the UK.

We do know that certain reforms need parliamentary time (e.g., stake limits), and who knows where that will sit in the list of priorities.

Whatever happens any deviation from the previously announced path seems unlikely. So much of the reform’s implementation sit with the Gambling Commission, exercising its statutory duties. Nothing will change in that regard and, if anything, the Commission has, in the recent past, demonstrated a willingness to get on with its business regardless of political turmoil.