Paul Scully MP has become the sixth Minister to take charge of the 2005 Gambling Act review, assuming the role of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy (Gambling Minister).
The appointment of Scully follows the return of Michelle Donelan as DCMS Secretary in Rishi Sunak’s government, and the stepping down of Damian Collins from the Undersecretary role today.
Since being initiated in December 2020 as an election manifesto pledge of the Conservative government, the Gambling Act review has been overseen by Nigel Huddleston, John Whittingdale, Chris Philp, Damian Collins, and now Scully.
“I’m excited to get stuck into my new role as Minister for Tech at DCMS and delighted to continue the work with so many friends as Minister for London,” the new Minister commented on Twitter.
Philp was the first to take on the then-newly-created position in 2021, and held responsibility for overseeing the Gambling Act review until resigning in protest of Boris Johnosn’s government earlier this year.
He will continue to work as Minister of London concurrently in his position as Gambing Minister – coincidentally, Chris Philp was also Minister of London before becoming the first Gambling Minister, a position he resigned from earlier this year in protest against Boris Johnson’s government.
Issuing a response to the announcement, Betting and Gaming Council, CEO, Michael Dugher, has congratulated both Scully and Donelan on their appointments at DCMS, whilst paying tribute to the outgoing Collins.
He remarked: “On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by our members – from the high street to hospitality, from tourism to world-leading British tech – 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.
The BGC noted that Scully was previously a Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, a programme which the betting industry trade association has repeatedly stated the sector is willing and able to support.
Dugher reiterated that the industry generates $4.5m in taxes to the treasury, whilst contributing £7.7bn to the economy in gross value added, alongside providing the aforementioned 119,000 jobs.
“We are ready to work with DCMS to help find carefully targeted, proportionate measures which achieve the right balance,” he continued.
“We want to continue to drive big changes and drive higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, whilst 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.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to Damian Collins MP, the widely respected outgoing minister who was leading on the Review, for his willingness to engage with the industry and understand the contribution we make to the economy.”
With long-time Conservative government official Sunak – who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson throughout the duration of the review, now in the driving seat at No 10 and a new Undersecretary in DCMS – the Gamlbing Act review could once again be back on track.
The White Paper on the review was initially scheduled for publication in the spring, but has been repeatedly pushed back due to clashes over key issues, international political and economic developments and the series of scandals that have rocked the government.
During Liz Truss’ short tenure as PM there was speculation as to whether the review would be shelved entirely due to a lack of interest from Downing Street – the apparently stabilisation of the government and economy under Sunak might spell relief for both industry stakeholders and reform advocates.