The UK has a new government minister in charge of gambling policy, as ongoing wider political changes throw the timeline for the Gambling Act review white paper release into further disarray.
Paul Scully MP confirmed that he has taken over as the new minister for technology at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on social media.
Michael Dugher, the Betting and Gaming Council’s (BGC) CEO, said his group is ready to work with the new gambling minister and the DCMS to “help find carefully targeted, proportionate measures which achieve the right balance”.
“We want to continue to drive big changes and drive higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time ensuring that the 22.5 million punters who enjoy a flutter each month, perfectly safely and responsibly, have the freedom to do so,” Dugher said.
Pressure group Clean Up Gambling also welcomed the announcement, writing on social media that at a “crucial time” it looks forward to helping Scully “deliver meaningful reforms that can upgrade Britain’s approach to regulation and reduce gambling harm”.
Clean Up Gambling recently ran a print ad in the Financial Times aimed at government ministers, which argued that online gambling makes a net negative contribution to the economy. The public health costs caused by gambling addiction, they said, outweigh the tax the industry pays to the state.
Damian Collins, the now ex-gambling minister, said he will continue to support measures he oversaw at the DCMS from the backbenches.
Collins was only appointed as undersecretary of state for online safety on July 8 after his predecessor Chris Philp was among 50 members of the Conservative party who resigned from government positions to force former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to step down.
Collins entered the DCMS as part of the ill-fated Liz Truss government, which collapsed after just 45 days.
Michelle Donelan MP, the Secretary of State for the DCMS, has been reappointed by Sunak.
There has been growing uncertainty over the past few months regarding when the Gambling Act review white paper will be published, following the announcement that Boris Johnson would step down as Prime Minister in July 2022.
Since Johnson’s departure, major changes in personnel have continued at the very top of UK politics and no official update has been given on the white paper's status. Meanwhile, the government has been gripped by growing instability within the Conservative Party and a looming financial crisis.