Not If, But When — UK Gambling Reform White Paper Set for Further Major Delay

With UK government ministers, among them gaming overlord Chris Philp, abandoning Boris Johnson’s dead-in-the-water administration, Britain’s long-awaited White Paper on gambling reform is facing further major delay.

And given the intensifying power struggle over the immediate future of the ruling Conservative Party, and, by extension, leadership of the nation, it could now be next year before the White Paper–first mooted in December, 2019–is published, debated and change enacted.

Perhaps it’s a measure of the disdain, or even contempt, with which the gambling industry is held by most UK politicians that this latest reveal came by slip of mouth as Philp–described as one of “the sinking ships, leaving the rat Johnson” by opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer—revealed live on radio that he was abandoning his post of Minister responsible for the Review of the 2005 Gambling Act; while Johnson’s administration imploded under a barrage of sleaze and lies.

Philp, MP for Croydon South, was only in ministerial post for a mere nine months — and was the fourth minister in charge of the Gambling Review since it was launched two-and-a-half-years-ago.

He told the BBC’s “Today” programme that the White Paper had been submitted to Number 10 Downing Street and was now awaiting “final approval” from his ex-, now mortally wounded, leader.

Fair to say the long-awaited White Paper, designed to make the gambling industry “fit-for-purpose” in the digital age, will be going absolutely no-where until a new Tory leader, and thus British Prime Minister, is appointed by mid-September at the earliest.

Given the exigencies of the growing economic crisis, ongoing war in Ukraine, and necessity to prepare for a general election to legitimise any new PM, gambling reform is hardly likely to count as a priority by whoever takes over the reins of power in the near future.

Stating the obvious, one highly placed political source told iGamingFuture: “There is general cross-party support for gambling reform. So even if there’s a snap election we’ll definitely see changes.

“I don’t think it would make a massive difference to the outcome. But it could push the timing back a bit.”

Another insider cautioned: “Disruption [could] be much greater.

“A change of prime minister might delay things still but if it wasn’t just a change of prime minister but a change of government entirely, that could have a big impact,” they warned.

Meanwhile, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who have overall responsibility for the UK gambling industry, have announced that Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, has been appointed the new Minister for Gaming.

Cynics could be forgiven for noting: “Who he? Yet another lamb to the slaughter.”

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