It has been reported that Downing Street has taken control of the upcoming review of gambling legislation, due to be launched ‘within weeks’.
According to the Guardian, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is expected to start the ‘long-awaited’ review this autumn but with speculation that Boris Johnson and his closest advisers were now steering the plans. It reported that this will involve an overhaul the 2005 Gambling Act.
It is reported that the PM is set to take a leading role in this review because the DCMS is ‘conflicted over advertising due to the financial contributions gambling makes to both sports teams and broadcasters’ who have the ear of DCMS officials.
It reported that the Sports minister Nigel Huddleston ‘is thought to be keen on a wide-ranging review’ but speaking in the House of Lords last week, another DCMS minister, Lady Barran, said: “I cannot be specific on the scope of the review, but the evidence is not clear about the link between advertising and problem gambling, particularly among young people,” she said.
One MP with knowledge of DCMS said: “Like any organisation, departments become quite linked in to these industries [such as sport and broadcasting]… They weren’t that keen on changing tobacco advertising back in the day but it happened.”
A DCMS official denied there was any lack of enthusiasm for tackling advertising and insisted the department was working with No 10, rather than being directed by it.