The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is calling for the publication of the White Paper on the reforms of the UK gambling act without any further delays. The review was announced in December 2020 with a publication date scheduled for Spring 2021.
In a cabinet reshuffle, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the appointment of Lucy Frazer MP as the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. In her new remit she is responsible for overseeing the publication of the White Paper review.
Frazer is the fourth Secretary of State to lead the Gambling Act reforms. Former incumbants Michele Donelan MP and Paul Scully MP who occupied the role at DCMS have taken on newly created roles at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.
It is hoped that Frazer will reject calls for tax increases in the industry.
Stakeholders await government decisions
The White Paper is expected to clarify issues in the industry such as sponsorship, affordability checks, marketing and research as well as funding for education and training.
Commenting on Frazer’s appointment, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “On behalf of the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on our members – we would like to warmly welcome Lucy on her new appointment. I know she is someone who is liked and respected across Parliament, and her appointment comes at a critical time for our industry. From high streets to hospitality, from tourism to tech, our members generate £4.2 billion in taxes for the Treasury and contribute £7.1 billion to the economy. There are still issues to finalise, but the long awaited package of reforms should be published without delay.”
The White Paper has been further delayed due to the changes in the UK government. So far, three Prime Ministers have lead the country in one year and the reforms were put on the back burner. At one point there were rumours that former Prime Minister Liz Truss intended to scrap the White Paper.
However Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the review would take place suggested a release in February 2023.
“We hope the new Secretary of State will listen to racing and to the millions of punters who are concerned about blanket, intrusive, low level ‘affordability’ checks driving people to the unsafe unregulated black market online,” Dugher concluded.
“We continue to call for big changes so that standards in safer gambling continue to improve, but these changes must be carefully targeted to protect the small minority who are at risk or vulnerable, and not interfere with the overwhelming majority who enjoy betting safely and responsibly.
“We have already called for an ombudsman to improve consumer redress and have engaged extensively with previous ministers. It’s time now for the Government to end the damaging uncertainty and get on with publishing the white paper as soon as possible.”
UK gaming sector prepares for pessimistic Q4 results (sigma.world)