UK Betting Industry Welcomes New Minister

September 23, 2021
The UK betting industry has reacted warmly to the appointment of Chris Philp as the new minister overseeing the gambling sector.


The UK betting industry has reacted warmly to the appointment of Chris Philp as the new minister overseeing the gambling sector.

Although Philp's full portfolio has yet to be confirmed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the MP for Croydon South will definitely oversee the final stages of the gambling review launched by the government last December, with a white paper expected before the end of the year.

He was most recently a junior minister at the Home Office and succeeds John Whittingdale, who was sacked in the reshuffle.

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed Philp to his new role, adding: "He comes to the brief with an excellent reputation as a talented and extremely capable minister. We have made excellent progress working towards the gambling review white paper and we're sure the government will not wish to lose momentum."

Dugher said it was "vitally important that the government continues with the evidence-led approach it has taken to the review until now".

He added: "I look forward to working with Chris in the months ahead as the BGC continues to drive big changes and higher standards on safer gambling, ensuring we get the balance right between protecting the vulnerable while ensuring the millions who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly have the freedom to do so."

Campaigners for gambling reform had claimed that Whittingdale was "soft" on the issue.

Dugher had tweeted that he was sorry about the loss of a “talented, tough but fair minister” when Whittingdale was dismissed.

Although there is limited evidence of Philp’s views on gambling, in 2017 he wrote the foreword to a report by think tank ResPublica which called for fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes to be reduced to £2, saying the machines damaged "the lives of people, our economic prosperity and the fabric of our communities".

Philp previously worked for management consultants McKinsey & Company advising the boards of FTSE 100 companies before co-founding distribution business Blueheath Holdings in 2000.

The company was later floated on the AIM stock exchange before merging with Booker Cash & Carry as part of the Booker Group in a £375m deal.

He also founded Clearstone Training and Recruitment Limited, an HGV training provider, as well as a separate property development firm.

It had originally been suggested that MP Julia Lopez would take the gambling minister position after claiming Whittingdale’s former title at the DCMS in the reshuffle. However, she is expected to take on the media and data brief without added gambling responsibilities.

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