UK Government’s much anticipated White Paper may never see the light of day if rumors that the gambling reform will be axed by the new cabinet ministers turn out to be true.
Promote Growth, Ditch Further Regulation
The ongoing Gambling Act 2005 review may be next on the firing line for the newly-elected Prime Minister Liz Truss and the new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, who, according to the report in The Guardian, have told cabinet ministers to prioritize legislation that will promote growth and securitize anything that implies further regulation.
Truss and her ministers indicated the end of the bill of rights, the obesity strategy and the cap on bankers’ bonuses over the past week, and according to a cabinet minister cited by the media “there are so many things that have to be done, it squeezes how much genuine flexibility we might have.”
Considered within the cabinet’s growth priorities, the review of the Gambling Act 2005 that started in 2020 fits into the category that is likely to burden businesses with more regulation and stifle growth, rather than promote it, something the new Prime Minister is keen on avoiding.
The review was supposed to complete with the release of the government’s White Paper in late 2021 but is still “stuck in government” after strong pushback already caused several delays and watered down the set of measures proposed to update gambling regulation.
Internal Cabinet Collision
Abandoning the review will cause a direct collision with the new chief secretary to the Treasury, Chris Philp, who as the Minister of the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) championed the gambling reforms and will strongly resist the idea of putting his efforts on the chopping block.
In his resignation letter in July, Philp claimed the White Paper containing strong measures to protect people from gambling addiction was pending final approval of the Prime Minister.
“I have met with families of those who have committed suicide as a result of gambling addiction and I urge you to deliver the review in full undiluted,” he wrote.
According to unnamed cabinet sources though, nothing is guaranteed to survive the chop as anything that may put “additional burdens on the business” or “seems like unnecessary interference in people’s lives during a time of crisis” is in the government’s sights.