Thursday is election day and looks like it could be an important one. The main issue is Brexit, of course, but if that issue is divisive, it seems that all parties agree that the gambling industry needs a damn good thrashing.
Let’s look at what each parties’ manifestos say about how they will tackle gambling, as well as the bookies’ latest odds.
All odds are quoted from LeoVegas and are accurate as of Tuesday the 10th December.
Leader: Boris Johnson
Odds of winning most seats: 1/40
The Conservatives are odds-on to win most seats (although 1/40 is really poor value) but winning most seats might not be enough to form a majority. In recent days, opinion polls suggest the Tory lead getting chipped away. The weather, younger voter turnout and Nigel Farage are all wild cards in this election. If we see a repeat of the 2017 election, then the Conservatives could need to grovel back to the DUP and – perhaps – the Brexit Party.
But where do the Tories stand on gambling? Here’s what their manifesto says:
- A review of the 2005 Gambling Act, with a particular focus on credit card misuse, as well as classing loot boxes as gambling
- Tackle gambling addiction (no detail given)
Leader: Jeremy Corbyn
Odds of winning most seats: 14/1
Labour probably won’t win most seats but are likely to be the second biggest party. If the Tories fail to win a majority, and fail to form a coalition, Labour will be asked to try to form a coalition of their own.
Where do they stand on gambling? Here’s what’s in their manifesto:
- Treat problem gambling as a public health issue
- Introduce a new Gambling Act ‘fit for the digital age’ (no detail given)
- Establish new limits on gambling (no detail given)
- Introduce a levy for problem gambling
- New mechanisms for consumer compensation
Labour also mention general corporate changes such as more stringent takeover rules (look out Flutter/SkyBet) and for workers to sit on boards (look out GVC, Bet365 and William Hill). There is also talk of reducing business rates, which might make high-street bookies a bit more viable.
Leader: Jo Swinson
Odds of winning most seats: 100/1
The Lib Dems have little (i.e. zero) chance of forming a majority at this election. But in a hung parliament situation, the Lib Dems will likely be the kingmakers, deciding who gets to sit in Number 10. In the 2010 election the Lib Dems supported a Conservative majority government. That looks unlikely this time since the Tories want to ‘get Brexit done’.
If the Tories fail to win an overall majority and fail to form a coalition with the DUP and/or The Brexit Party, expect to see the Lib Dems join forces with Labour, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, and the Greens.
Here are the gambling proposals from the Lib Dem manifesto:
- Ban use of credit cards for gambling (online and offline)
- Compulsory levy to fund research, education and treatment for gambling addiction
- Restrict gambling advertising
- Establish a gambling ombudsman
Looking at these manifestos, there is a lot of vagueness, with not much detail. The only thing which all agree on seems to be a ban on credit cards, so look for that in the New Year. That’s no bad thing, to be honest, but it’s going to be interesting to see how they tackle eWallets such as PayPal, which can be funded by credit cards, or indeed, apps like Boku.