The Betting and Gaming Council has welcomed Lucy Frazer MP as the latest Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, while urging her to prioritise the Gambling Act Review and white paper.
The British trade body recognised that Frazer’s appointment has come at a ‘critical time’ for the UK’s betting and gaming industry as the consistently-delayed white paper continues to present suppliers, operators and players with uncertainty.
Michael Dugher, the BGC’s Chief Executive, urged the new Secretary of State to continue the Department’s ‘positive engagement’ with the industry and its companies in order to deliver the White Paper ‘as soon as possible.’
“On behalf of the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on our members – we would like to warmly welcome Lucy on her new appointment,” said Dugher.
“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 £4.2bn in taxes for the Treasury and contribute £7.1bn to the economy in gross value added.”
The latest department reshuffle under Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government saw Frazer appointed to the DCMS earlier this week, while Julia Lopez MP and Stewart Andrew MP remain as ministers in the Department.
Dugher continued: “There are still issues to finalise, but the long awaited package of welcome reforms should be published without delay. 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.
“We also hope that as a sector supporting jobs and investment in the UK, recovering from the pandemic and facing tough economic headwinds, she will reject calls for any new taxes on the industry.”
The BGC has consistently highlighted the need for the government to deliver the Gambling Act Review and white paper, recently stating that further delays could be causing investors to avoid the UK market.
Writing in an opinion piece for Conservative Home, Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the BGC, explained that gambling businesses are “operating with one eye open on the long-awaited government review” and ‘noisy rows” over the white paper debate are causing the UK economy to be overlooked.
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.”