The Fifth Dimension: In A Game of Musical Chairs, Don’t Worry Here Comes Scully in a Hurry

In a game of musical chairs, Paul Scully, a former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, has become the fifth government minister in 18-months to be given the responsibility for shepherding reform of Britain’s gambling industry.

Amid the ongoing political vortex roiling the ruling Tory party, following the defenestration of Boris Johnson, the limp lettuce administration of now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t Liz Truss and the Second Coming of Rishi Sunak, Scully, Conservative MP for the greater London constituency of Sutton and Cheam, has been appointed the new Undersecretary for Tech and the Digital Economy within the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

As such the 54-year-old parliamentarian is now in charge of overseeing the long-gestating White Paper on betting industry reform — and upgrade of the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act, to make it fit-for-purpose for the digital age of iGaming.

Scully, who also remains Minister for London, is a former government trade envoy to Brunei, Thailand and Burma and Minister for Small Business, and is regarded as a “safe pair of hands”–if not inspired choice—to run Tech and Digital.

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He replaces Damian Collins, who replaced Chris Philp, who replaced John Whittingdale, who replaced Nigel Huddleston. And thus he becomes the fifth minister in charge of gambling reform since March 2021.

“I’m excited to get stuck into my new role as minister for tech at DCMS the gaming overlord told the media in a brief statement.

Meanwhile, in what has now become a simple if not clichéd press release, the UK’s representative Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the latest appointment.

“On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by our members, I’d like to congratulate both Paul Scully MP on his new role, and Michelle Donelan MP on her re-appointment as Secretary of State for DCMS,” said BGC CEO Michael Dugher.

“Our industry generates £4.5 billion in taxes for the Treasury and contributes £7.7 billion for the economy in gross value added.

“We are ready to work with DCMS to help find carefully targeted, proportionate measures which achieve the right balance.

“We want to continue to drive big changes and drive higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, while at the same time ensuring that the 22.5 million punters who enjoy a flutter each month, perfectly safely and responsibly, have the freedom to do so.”

What, one wonders, will come first: Gambling reform or yet another new minister?

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