The DCMS is expected to further delay its White Paper on gambling reforms until May “at the earliest,” despite the influential document being due before the end of last year. With a general election likely in two years – or earlier if the Prime Minister fails to stop the tide of rebellion washing up on No 10’s door, it will still be a race against time to get new legislation on the statute book in the next few years.
The government is likely to once more delay publication of its much-anticipated White Paper outlining proposals for the Gambling Review, with delivery unlikely before May.
Though no official statement has been released by DCMS, reports of the postponement were widely reported by the press on 7 February, prompting concerns from gambling stakeholders.
The anti-gambling news hound, The Guardian, was first on the scene to the leak. “The proposals are now not expected until May,” it reported, quoting “three sources with knowledge of the process.”
The Daily Mail added that “Whitehall sources insisted last night that drafts of the paper had already been submitted but more work was needed,” adding the paper will not appear until May “at the earliest and could be set back still further if Boris Johnson is forced to quit as Prime Minister.”
The review of the 2005 Gambling Act, officially launched in December 2020, was first expected to publish its findings before the close of 2021, however the replacement of John Whittingdale as gambling minister by Chris Philp delayed proceedings.
Speaking at a GambleAware conference in December, Philp stated the White Paper would not be expected until “Spring 2022,” with the latest delay pushing the date back to the very end of that season.
Commenting on the recent delay, a spokesperson for the Labour Party criticised the impact of Boris Johnson’s leadership on the progress of legislation, stating “the Government must not let its own internal problems stand in the way of much-needed reforms.”
The delay comes at a particularly frustrating time for industry stakeholders, with 2021 results published this month and next, a period in which all PLCs required regulatory outcomes on a broad range of compliance and technical practices.