Following a cabinet reshuffle on 8 January, Matt Hancock will be the Secretary of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – the man that decides the fate of the UK’s high-street gaming landscape.
Matt Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, has been promoted to Secretary of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) following Monday’s government cabinet reshuffle, and will take the final decision on the Triennial Review and the maximum stake of FOBTs.
Hancock has served the DCMS as Minister of Digital & Culture since 2016, and replaces Karen Bradley as leader of the department overseeing UK media and culture; standards, promotions, regulatory policies and social practices.
“We look forward to working with the new Secretary of State, Matt Hancock,” said John White, CEO of Bacta.
“Given his previous role as a junior Minister in the DCMS,he will be aware of the current review of stakes and prizes and the arguments which support a reduction in the maximum permitted stake on B2s to £2.
“He will also be aware of the central role of the amusement industry in driving economic and leisure activity at the coast. We await with interest to see if any other changes will occur within the Department, but we are delighted that Tracey Crouch will be staying in post to see through the review.
In its remit, DCMS oversees the implementation of gambling laws regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The appointment of Hancock as DCMS leader has been viewed positively by many in the betting industry,with the Tory MP standing up as a staunch supporter of UK racing in Parliamentary debates as a Junior Minister.
Furthermore,the MP has been a key policy stakeholder in 2017’s reform of the Horseracing Racing Betting Levy,reducing a number of administrative costs for the sport.
Hancock takes leadership of the DCMS at a critical point for the industry,with the final decision of the long-delayed triennial review due at the end of the month.
After years of lobbying by numerous groups for a £2 maximum stake on B2s, it has come down to Hancock – who will have been the DCMS’s chief for barely three weeks – to take the final decision on stake size that will affect the lives, and livelihoods, of all those afflicted by FOBTs.