Damian Collins put in charge of UK gambling review

Collins takes over responsibility for gambling from Chris Philp.
Collins takes over responsibility for gambling from Chris Philp.

Damien Collins is the fourth minister to be tasked with overseeing the UK’s review of gambling legislation.

UK.- It’s been confirmed that Damian Collins, the UK government’s new parliamentary under-secretary of state for online safety, has been put in charge of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) review of gambling legislation.

Collins inherits a process that, in theory, is almost complete, following the resignation of Chris Philp in protest at Boris Johnson’s leadership. Before Philp, the review of the 2005 Gambling Act was overseen by first Nigel Huddleston and then John Whittingdale, meaning that the process has now passed through the hands of four ministers since it began in 2020.

The government has been insisting all year that its gambling white paper containing its proposals for new legislation is “coming soon”. Philp had said that the white paper had already been presented to the prime minister, and there have already been reported leaks as to its contents, so it is not clear whether Collins’ appointment will change anything.

The DCMS has suggested that the white paper will still be published “soon”, but outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson has suggested that there will be no new policy announcements until a successor is chosen.

Collins is a Conservative member of parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, a position he was first elected to in the 2010 general election. He chairs the UK parliament’s joint committee on the draft online safety bill. He studied modern history at the University of Oxford’s St Benet’s Hall and was the president of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1995.

He has received a warmer welcome from the industry than Philps did, with Philps known for having campaigned in favour of stricter regulations for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the past.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the industry advocate the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said in a tweet: “Many congratulations to @DamianCollins on his appointment as Minister at DCMS. Highly rated and respected, and thoroughly well-deserved. Someone who actually knows something about his brief too – whatever is the world coming to?!”

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