UK Forecast: The New Politics of GamblingBy Luke Haward, CDC Gaming ReportsNovember 7, 2018 at 2:00 amA minister has resigned, major bookkeepers are taking steps against gambling ads during live sports broadcasts (or at least against their proliferation), the Tories are being advised to take a leaf from Labour’s book when it comes to gambling policy, and gambling taxes are set to rise. In the new UK politics of gambling, a shake-up is clearly on the cards.Europe is still feeling the shockwaves of Italy’s unprecedented decision to put in place a near total ban on gambling advertising, and other smaller nations are shifting positions, even banning most forms of gambling, as Albania recently opted to do. The UK is still the second-largest gambling economy in Europe, and as such it is now under a special kind of scrutiny.While it’s not looking likely that the UK regulator actions will come even close to what Italy is doing, it is possible to discern some of the same popular discontent, and some similar responses amongst politicos and regulators. Regulations in the UK have been tightened recently, including enhanced powers to penalise, not to mention cracking of the punitive whip several times in high profile cases.Italy is now moving to require health warnings on scratch cards, and there’s clearly more restrictions to come in the future. Spain is restricting ads, which it says is in line with tobacco advertising. And despite the gambling industry’s major assist to the Spanish economy, it has recently increased online gambling taxes (while reducing some other sports and gaming taxes).In the UK there’s a sense of public saturation, and a history of too many failings in customer care and due diligence. There’s a sense also, of there being better and more sustainable approaches ahead, and major operators are starting to sound more progressive. GVC, who own Ladbrokes, recently called for a total ban on pre-watershed gambling advertising [advertising before 21:00], even during live sports broadcasts. Just this week Sky promised to limit its advertising on live televised sports broadcasts to just one ad per break on its channels, starting with next August’s Premier League matches. This will inevitably cost the broadcaster, although the fact that they auction off their advertising slots may soften the hit somewhat.It isn’t just advertising that need an overhaul, and the industry knows this. Major firms are now mounting large campaigns about responsible gambling, and the participation in responsible gambling week has been through the roof. On the political side, the pressure doesn’t seem likely to relent soon. Yes, interested parties perhaps had some influence in delaying the reduction in the maximum stake for FOBTs for a bit. But it’s a temporary reprieve which merely tacks against the prevailing winds, which are generally moving towards greater regulation, hopefully with more self-improvement efforts on the part of operators as well.This week, Lord Archer, writing in the Radio Times, advised the Tory party to “steal” Labour’s gambling policy. There could be worse advice. Labour are calling for a mandatory levy to fund gambling addiction programmes, a ban on credit card use for gambling, and an end to gambling ads altogether during live sporting broadcasts, rather than just pre-watershed. These are healthy policies, one might argue, to protect an industry that ultimately does contribute a lot to the economy, but perhaps, currently, at too great a social cost.In this weatherman’s eye, it’s not looking like an ill wind that’s blowing, it’s looking more like climate change. The question then becomes how will the gambling world adapt and survive? A further question might be, how can we adjust our impact so as to have a healthier environment to exist in? All answers on an e-postcard are welcomed.