According to a report in The Guardian this weekend, not only is this government going ahead with its long-awaited review of the Gambling Act this autumn, but it’s a project being undertaken at the highest levels of state.
The paper reports that according to government insiders, Boris Johnson himself, alongside senior Downing Street figures like Dominic Cummings, have opted to take the helm of the upcoming review of the 2005 legislation – which has come under fire in recent years for being outdated in its provisions for online regulation.
Meanwhile, the broadsheet cited one anonymous but apparently clued-in MP as saying that the prime minister viewed the Act as allowing “people [to be] exploited and it’s not him.”
To that end, Whitehall insiders are apparently keen to push ahead with a “wide-ranging” restructuring of the UK regulatory landscape – with the Guardian anticipating the “roll back of large sections of the act,” anticipating a particular emphasis on curbing gambling advertising.
This much was apparently confirmed by DCMS minister Lady Barran, who speaking in the House of Lords last week seemed far from convinced by that advertising restrictions would effect any positive change in problem gambling rates.
“I cannot be specific on the scope of the review,” she said. “But the evidence is not clear about the link between advertising and problem gambling, particularly among young people.”