Michelle Donelan to remain at the helm of DCMS as Sunak selects his team

Donelan was appointed to lead the DCMS last month.
Donelan was appointed to lead the DCMS last month.

Rishi Sunak has announced his cabinet after he was made UK prime minister.

UK.- Rishi Sunak has been named UK prime minister and has started giving shape to his cabinet. The news of interest for the gambling sector is that Michelle Donelan will continue as secretary of state at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which includes gambling in its remit. 

Donelan was appointed to the position by former PM Liz Truss last month, replacing Nadine Dorris, who had occupied the role under Boris Johnson. She is one of several ministers who will stay on as Sunak attempts to create a semblance of stability in the government. 

Donelan was very briefly secretary of state for education from July 5 to 7 and before that minister of state for higher and further education from September 15, 2021. It’s not been stated, but it seems for now that Damian Collins, who was appointed under Boris Johnson in July, will remain directly responsible for gambling legislation as parliamentary under-secretary of state for tech and the digital economy.

That may help minimise any further delay to the Gambling White Paper caused by the change in government. The DCMS began its review of the 2005 Gambling Act in 2020 and was due to deliver its proposals early this year, but the white paper has been delayed several times. There were even suggestions that Truss would scrap reforms altogether. 

Rishi Sunak named PM

Rishi Sunak has been appointed the UK’s latest prime minister following Liz Truss’s whirlwind stint in the role. He was the only candidate left for the position after Penny Mordaunt and former PM Boris Johnson ruled themselves out.

Gambling stakeholders have welcomed the appointment and urged Sunak to speed up the delivery of the long-delayed white paper on gambling legislation. 

Michael Dugher, chief executive of trade body the Betting and Gaming Council said: “The BGC warmly welcomes the appointment of Rishi Sunak. As the Catterick MP, Rishi has always shown himself to be a very strong supporter of British horse racing, and he knows only too well the symbiotic relationship between the regulated betting industry and racing.

“BGC members contribute £7.7bn to the UK economy, including £4.5bn in tax, as well as sustaining nearly 120,000 jobs – something our new PM and his team fully understand from their time running the Treasury.

“As well as racing, we also provide vital support to many other sports like lower league football, rugby league, snooker and darts. We stand by ready to help our new Prime Minister rebuild and grow our economy in every part of the UK.”

As for the long-planned reforms of gambling legislation, Dugher called for the swift publication of a white paper proposing “sensible” reforms. 

He said: “We also hope the new administration makes speedy progress on a sensible, proportionate and carefully targeted gambling white paper, one that helps to further drive up standards and protect the vulnerable, whilst safeguarding jobs, investment and sport – and not spoiling the enjoyment of the overwhelming majority of punters who bet safely and responsibly.”

Nuno Albuquerque, consultant treatment lead at addiction specialists UKAT, encouraged the government to publish the Gambling White Paper soon.

He said: “Online gambling is on the rise yet again and we’re still waiting for the government’s 2005 Gambling Act reform White Paper – the situation is becoming dangerous. Yes, there has been political turmoil but we really need to see the outcomes of this long-awaited reform, so that we can better protect those who gamble.”

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