Minister wants gambling review white paper 'out of the door' in next few weeks

Government minister Paul Scully said on Wednesday he wanted to get the much-delayed gambling review white paper "out of the door" but was unable to say whether it would be published this year.

Scully, who took over the gambling brief in October, said the government's proposals would be revealed "in the next few weeks".

It is nearly two years since the government launched its gambling review following a manifesto pledge to make regulation of the industry "fit for the digital age".

However, the white paper has been the subject of continued delays. It was expected that it would be published during the summer but progress was halted by the turmoil surrounding the then prime minister Boris Johnson.

The white paper is important to British racing because of the likely inclusion of affordability checks for punters among its proposals.

The possibility of intrusive checks including requests for customers to provide financial information such as bank statements and tax returns at low levels of spend has led to estimates that they could wipe as much as £100 million from the sport's revenues per year.

The Betting and Gaming Council last week claimed polling showed that nearly 70 per cent of punters said they would not be willing to allow gambling operators to carry out compulsory affordability checks to prove they can afford to bet. Other issues covered by the review such as gambling advertising and sponsorship in sport could also have an effect on racing.

Scully, who is the fifth minister to hold the gambling brief since the review was launched, was asked when the white paper was to be published on the BBC's Politics Live programme.

He replied: "All I can say is it's in the next few weeks, I really want to get it out of the door."

The minister said he had been in a meeting with gambling reform campaigners including Gambling With Lives before the programme, adding: "I want to make sure I get it absolutely right rather than rush it."

However, when pressed whether "in the next few weeks" meant the white paper would be published before Christmas, Scully answered: "It depends how you define that."

It has been reported the government is planning to propose non-intrusive affordability measures, akin to credit checks, in the white paper.

Other proposals expected to figure include a cut in the maximum stakes for online slots to mirror those in bricks-and-mortar establishments and the creation of an ombudsman to protect consumer rights.

Read these next:

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Bill BarberIndustry editor
Published on 30 November 2022Last updated 19:35, 30 November 2022