Having Booted Boris, Tories Kick Gambling Reform Down the Road Too

Amid the screeching economic car crash of their leadership shuffle, it would appear that Britain’s ruling Conservative Party are quietly shelving plans for comprehensive reform of the UK gambling industry.

Anyone with an ounce of betting sense will now be putting their money on a Labour landslide—or at least a Tory ousting—at the next, rapidly approaching, general election.

After what’s turning out to being years of review and consultation with stakeholders it seems inconceivable that long-awaited reform of the country’s out-dated 2005 Gambling Act will be coming any time soon.

And if reform does come before lawmakers for ratification it will be the current opposition parties, Labour, Scottish Nationalists and Social Democrats, who will be driving the change.

Speaking at the just-concluded Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, failed former Tory leader and hard-core anti-gambling campaigner, conceded that the long-running White Paper Review of the betting industry is still “a work in progress”.

After over a year of consultation, the White Paper was scheduled for publication this spring, before it was derailed by the Conservative’s post-pandemic leadership fiasco.

“It is not altogether certain where the government is right now [on the review],” Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, who led the Tories between September 2001 and November 2003, told delegates at a so-called ‘fringe’ meeting.

“It is in exactly the same place as it was before [under the Johnson administration],” added Duncan Smith, a prominent member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-related Harm.

“The problem is that names have all changed and people who therefore knew something about it are no longer in the posts that they were.

“It’s a case of re-education and getting people to understand what they are sitting on and why it’s necessary.

“[Reform] may take a little bit more time. [As yet] nobody has come out with an absolute: ‘No. This should not go through!’”

Published on:
fast track