Gambling review

Culture secretary says long-awaited white paper due 'shortly' as she reaffirms government support for racing

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said on Thursday the government was committed to supporting British horseracing as she also told MPs the long-awaited gambling review white paper would be published shortly.

Frazer, who became culture secretary in prime minister Rishi Sunak's mini-reshuffle last month, was speaking during questions for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons.

Affordability checks are expected to figure among the government's proposals in the white paper, measures British racing has estimated are already costing the sport £40 million in revenues per year as a result of Gambling Commission pressure on operators.

Independent MP Andrew Bridgen asked Frazer to outline "whether the Gambling Commission warned her department of the impact those decisions would have on the sport?".

Although Frazer did not address the issue of affordability checks directly, she replied: "I assure my hon friend that the government remain committed to supporting the horseracing sector and have committed to review the levy by 2024."

Frazer is the fourth culture secretary to have held the position since the government's gambling review was launched in 2020 and it was notable that it was she, rather than Stuart Andrew the minister with direct responsibility for gambling, who was answering questions on the subject.

It is believed ministers are aiming to publish the white paper before the end of March, although if that deadline were to be missed the political timetable means it could be delayed again until May at the earliest.

For several months ministers have said the proposals would be unveiled "in the coming weeks", but on this occasion there was a change in language.

Asked by Margaret Ferrier MP when the white paper would be published Frazer said: "This is the most thorough review of gambling laws since the Gambling Act 2005 was passed, and we need to get it right so that our regulation is not just fit for the digital age but protects those who are vulnerable. 

"We are looking at the best available evidence, including from the 16,000 submissions to our call for evidence, and we will be publishing our findings very shortly."

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