by Mateusz Mazur

UK Government Exempts Gambling Contracts from New Subscription Rules

The UK government has introduced an amendment to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, specifically exempting gambling contracts from the new online subscription rules.

This legislative update comes as a response to concerns raised by various stakeholders in the gambling industry, particularly society lotteries.

Background of the New Subscription Legislation

The new legislation mandates businesses to provide clear information to consumers upon signing up for subscriptions, part of an initiative to combat “subscription traps.”

Other aspects of the bill include reminders to consumers before subscription renewals and simplified processes for canceling subscriptions.

Concerns from the Society Lotteries

The society lotteries trade body, the Lotteries Council, voiced concerns that the bill’s initial language would adversely impact charity lotteries.

They cited potential increases in legal, regulatory, and marketing costs to maintain compliance with the new rules. Furthermore, it was argued that society lotteries already adhere to strict subscription regulations under the Gambling Commission’s consumer protection rules, making some of the new bill’s rules either redundant or incompatible.

Calls for Explicit Exemption and Government Response

In July, the Lotteries Council called for an explicit exemption in the bill, seeking clarity in law and alignment with the government’s intentions.

Addressing these concerns, Kevin Hollinrake, secretary of state for enterprise and markets, during the bill’s third reading in the House of Commons, clarified that the government did not intend to include society lottery contracts in the bill. He announced the introduction of an amendment to explicitly exclude gambling contracts regulated under gambling laws from the subscription contract measures.

Industry and Parliamentary Reaction to the Amendment

This amendment was welcomed in the parliamentary debate, with SNP MP Richard Thomson expressing satisfaction that the government had listened to industry concerns. Thomson highlighted the risk of society lotteries being inadvertently impacted by the original legislation.

Our Comment on the Article

The UK government’s amendment to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill demonstrates a nuanced approach to legislative changes, balancing the need to protect consumers with the operational realities of the gambling sector.

By exempting gambling contracts from the new subscription rules, the amendment addresses the unique regulatory landscape in which society lotteries operate, ensuring that these entities are not unduly burdened by overlapping regulations.

This development reflects the government’s responsiveness to industry feedback and its commitment to creating a regulatory environment that is both effective and considerate of the specific needs of different sectors.


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