Is White Paper on Gambling Reform Still a Work in Progress?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Tory party policies now that Liz Truss is the Prime Minister. Many of those that were proposed by her predecessor seem to have been overturned. Could that include the proposals to review the 2005 Gambling Act?

Little seems to have been said about those proposals during the Tory Party conference this week, especially in the main hall. However, there has been discussion of the matter at fringe events.

Former Tory leader (there are quite a few around) Iain Duncan Smith is a long-time supporter of gambling reform. Earlier this year he threatened war if some of the stricter anti-gambling policies weren’t introduced.

At a fringe meeting he described the yet to be released White Paper on gambling reform to be “a work in progress.” Progress is hardly an apt word to use seeing work on it began two years ago.

It was due to be published in the spring but then the chaos in Downing Street delayed that. Since Liz Truss took over, little has been said about it. Perhaps she doesn’t want another controversial subject being discussed. The fear may be that introducing stricter gambling rules might be seen as another policy unpopular with the working-class voters.

It’s not surprising that Smith said at the meeting that it is “not altogether certain where the government is right now’ regarding the White Paper. He added: “The problem is that names have all changed and people who therefore knew something about it are no longer in the posts that they were.”

The Tory backbencher is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm. While admitting there will be a further delay in announcing plans for gambling reform, he says “nobody has come out with an absolute ‘no, this should not go through.”

Chris Philp used to be the minister leading the review into gambling. He resigned that post shortly before Boris Johnson announced he was going to step down as Prime Minister. Philp is now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury so has had a busy time in the past week or so.

Duncan Smith said that Philp still wants to see the gambling reforms implemented. He had previously spoken about his main concerns being online gambling and slots. However, the Treasury isn’t too keen on losing gambling revenues so that might cause some proposals to be watered down.