Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle has resulted in yet another Minister taking the legislative helm of the UK gambling industry, Paul Scully MP.
Scully has been the Conservative Party MP for Sutton and Cheam on the fringes of Greater London since 2015, and was most recently Minister of State for Local Government and Building Safety and Minister for London, positions held concurrently.
He will take on the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy (Gambling Minster), the same position held by Chris Philp, whilst also continuing to work as Minister for London.
Philp was the first to take on the then-newly-created position in 2021, and held responsibility for overseeing the Gambling Act review until resigning in protest of Boris Johnosn’s government earlier this year.
Scully’s confirmation as DCMS Gambling Minister comes after Damian Collins vacated the role today after three months. Scully now becomes the fifth Minister charged with managing the Gambling Act review.
“I’m excited to get stuck into my new role as Minister for Tech at DCMS and delighted to continue the work with so many friends as Minister for London,” the new Minister commented on Twitter.
I'm excited to get stuck into my new role as Minister for Tech at @DCMS & delighted to continue the work with so many friends as Minister for London. Wishing my successor well in @luhc with the forthcoming LG financial settlement & work on building safety
— Paul Scully MP (@scullyp) October 27, 2022
Responding to the announcement, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has welcomed the new Minister, with CEO Michael Dugher congratulating both Scully and re-appointed DCMS Secretary Michelle Donelan as well as paying tribute to outgoing Collins.
“On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by our members – from the high street to hospitality, from tourism to world-leading British tech – I’d like to congratulate both Paul Scully MP on his new role and Michelle Donelan MP on her re-appointment as Secretary of State for DCMS,” Dugher’s statement read.
The BGC noted that Scully was previously a Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, a programme which the betting industry trade association has repeatedly stated the sector is willing and able to support.
Dugher reiterated that the industry generates $4.5m in taxes to the treasury, whilst contributing £7.7bn to the economy in gross value added, alongside providing the aforementioned 119,000 jobs.
“We are ready to work with DCMS to help find carefully targeted, proportionate measures which achieve the right balance,” he added.
“We want to continue to drive big changes and drive higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time ensuring that the 22.5 million punters who enjoy a flutter each month, perfectly safely and responsibly, have the freedom to do so.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to Damian Collins MP, the widely respected outgoing minister who was leading on the Review, for his willingness to engage with the industry and understand the contribution we make to the economy.”
— Betting and Gaming Council (@BetGameCouncil) October 28, 2022
Since being initiated in December 2020 as an election manifesto pledge of the Conservative government, the Gambling Act review has been overseen by Nigel Huddleston, John Whittingdale, Chris Philp, Damian Collins and now Paul Scully.
The White Paper on the review was initially scheduled for publication in the spring, but has been repeatedly pushed back due to clashes over key issues, international political and economic developments and the series of scandals that have rocked the government.
During Liz Truss’ short tenure as PM there was speculation as to whether the review would be shelved entirely due to a lack of interest from Downing Street.
With long-time Conservative government official Sunak – who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson throughout the duration of the review, now in the driving seat and with a new Undersecretary in DCMS – the review could once again be back on track.