British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leaving Downing Street, and this could have some important ramifications for the upcoming White Paper on gambling reform. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
waving goodbye evening
Despite his desperate efforts to cling above the brink of obscurity, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally lost his grip. His ministers resigned in droves this week, disillusioned with yet another political scandal. Now, in the face of countless opponents, Johnson has finally agreed to give up his Downing Street residence.
Governors will have the opportunity to compete for the final prize
His exit will undoubtedly create a power vacuum at the top of the Conservative Party. Eagles have hovered over Johnson’s head since the “Partygate” scandal earlier this year, and now the Conservative Party will have a chance to compete for the ultimate prize. As per the betting odds, Rishi Sunak and Benny Mordane are the two favorites to take up the role.
The current political turmoil in the UK will have an impact on all aspects of government policy, not least the upcoming White Paper on gambling reform. According to a Westminster source, the law was due to pass “in the coming weeks”. However, its deployment will face a series of challenges as the battle for power rages on.
Resignation of the leading deputy
The resignation of Minister for Technology and Digital Economy Chris Philp has laid a major key in the work of gambling reform. Philp, who was in charge of regulating gambling, decided to step down early Thursday morning ahead of the prime minister’s announcement.
In his resignation letter, he noted the importance of the White Paper. “The gambling review with No. 10 is currently for final approval, and contains robust measures to protect people from the ravages of gambling addiction,” Philip wrote, adding that he hoped the Prime Minister would submit the review “complete and undiluted.”
For Philip to get his wish, the prime minister will have to give the green light for reform before the UK Parliament’s summer recess, set to begin on July 22. If it does not pass before that time, the proposals will have to appear in the fall instead. Supporters launched a gambling review in December 2020.
Some hope that he will be able to pass the white paper before he leaves
The prime minister has announced that he will remain in power until the fall, which gives some hope that he may pass the white paper before his exit. However, the upcoming leadership contest is likely to muddy the waters somewhat, and the schedule will be revealed by the prime minister next week. Combined with the opposition of some members of Parliament, this may lead to a regression of reform related to gambling.
Music for each other’s ears
Any additional delays in publishing the White Paper will only benefit the efforts of those trying to prevent it. Reports last week suggested that Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has positioned himself in this camp, deeming the review an unnecessary intrusion of the “nurse state”. Government sources have already indicated that he is trying to slow down his request for details.
In addition, MPs have already complained about a “watered down” version of the report. This is something that is evident in an emphatic compromise over the ban on shirt sponsorship deals between gambling companies and Premier League teams. Ministers have reportedly scrapped those plans, instead allowing teams to phase out care over the next few years.
Among other measures rumored to be included in the white paper are reducing online casino lot sizes and introducing stricter affordability assessments for gamblers. MPs also want a ban on free bets and VIP packages for big players.
With the power struggle in the Conservative Party raging, Reese-Mogg and his like-minded peers will no doubt try to maneuver their gamble fix down their to-do list. As Philp explained, it’s up to who’s staying in Downing Street next door to make sure they get to cross the line in the end. For now, gambling operators, anti-gambling groups and customers have to wait in limbo.