John Whittingdale loses gambling and racing brief in government reshuffle
John Whittingdale, the minister for gambling and lotteries as well as racing, is leaving the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as prime minister Boris Johnson continued his reshuffle on Thursday.
Whittingdale tweeted he was "sorry to be stepping down" and that he was "saying goodbye to a great team of ministers and officials".
At time of writing there had been no confirmation who will take over Whittingdale's responsibilities. The gambling and racing remit had previously belonged to the minister for sport and tourism Nigel Huddleston.
Whittingdale's departure followed the news that Nadine Dorries had been promoted to the role of culture secretary, succeeding Oliver Dowden who has been made minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office and co-chairman of the Conservative Party.
The reshuffle at the DCMS comes with the government in the midst of a review of gambling legislation which could have major implications for both the gambling industry and British racing.
Ministers have said the 2005 Gambling Act is to be updated to make it "fit for the digital age" with the government launching its long-promised gambling review last December.
Issues such as affordability checks and sponsorship and advertising by gambling companies are expected to be dealt with by the review, with the government set to produce a white paper before the end of the year.
Critics of the gambling industry had been unhappy when Whittingdale took over the role in March, describing him as being "soft" on gambling.
Following the news, Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher tweeted that he was sorry to see Whittingdale go, describing him as "a talented, tough but fair minister", who understood the contribution made by those working in the industry.
Dugher added: "He was also unrelenting in driving the industry to keep changing and further raise standards on safer gambling."
Rishi Sunak, the MP for the constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire which includes Catterick racecourse and the Middleham training centre, remains chancellor of the exchequer following the reshuffle, while George Eustice will continue as environment secretary, heading the department responsible for animal welfare.
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