Political turmoil in Westminster is predictably impacting a range of sectors, with betting no exception as the 2005 Gambling Act review judgement is reportedly delayed once again.
The white paper on the 19-month-long regulatory overhaul was initially scheduled for publication in the spring, but this date was pushed back until July as final details were hashed out amidst a debate on a mandatory industry levy for research, education and treatment (RET).
Further compounding the situation has been this week’s political chaos, as Chris Philp – the DCMS undersecretary charged with overseeing the review – joined the ranks of over 50 Conservative Ministers in resigning in protest against PM Boris Johnson.
In his resignation letter, the outgoing Minister asserted that the Gambling Review is now ‘with no 10’, but that the white paper would implement ‘strong measures to protect people from the ravages of gambling addiction’.
Additionally, Nigel Huddleston – the DCMS Undersecretary of State, who has yet to hand in his notice – maintains that the white paper will be published ‘in the coming weeks’.
“It remains a priority of the department and we will publish a white paper setting out conclusions and a vision for the sector in the coming weeks,” the Minister stated.
Answering questions from MPs on the timeframe and outcomes of the Gambling Review yesterday, Huddleston maintained that the conclusions will be ‘comprehensive’ and that the DCMS will ‘keep a close eye on developments’ relating to technological evolution.
The Minister also stated – in response to a query from Carolyn Harris MP, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG) Chair, on alleged links between Downing Street advisors and betting firms – that the DCMS had ‘engaged extensively with all stakeholders’.
Lastly, answering a question from Lawrence Robertson MP on whether the government or the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will hold responsibility for affordability, Huddleston stated that: “The Secretary of State in particular is aware of that and we will be communicating more in due course. Affordability is an important point.”
However, despite Huddleston’s assertions that the white paper is on track, Secretary of State for Brexit Jacob Rees-Mogg – a long-time ally of Johnson – declared in a Channel 4 interview that no bills will be signed into law for at least three months.
Although making several appointments to his Cabinet to replace resigning Secretaries of State, the new administration is operating on an ‘interim’ basis whilst the Conservative Party and so it is unlikely key judgements.
As a result, even if the white paper and its full range of judgements for the industry – covering areas such as player protection, the Single Customer View (SCV), affordability checks, an RET levy and marketing – were to be published this month, the changes would not come into effect for some time regardless.