UK MP says gambling white paper must support rural communities

UK MP says gambling white paper must support rural communities

Caroline Nokes has stressed the importance of the gambling sector’s contributions to rural communities.

UK.- The Conservative MP Caroline Nokes has insisted that the UK government’s gambling white paper will consider the industry’s support for rural communities, most notably the horse racing sector.

The MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Hampshire, wrote on the ConservativeHome website that reforms to the 2005 Gambling Act must balance the protection of vulnerable people and the gambling industry’s sustainability with the need to maintain its support for rural sectors.

She wrote: “In rural constituencies like mine you cannot help but notice the impact of equestrian sport on the local environment and economy. This economic and social ecosystem is of great value to local communities like mine and needs to be kept alive and well.

“Any threat to horseracing poses a threat to all of this – and we are being told that there is such a threat to horseracing from proposals to be included in the imminent Gambling Review White Paper.

“This is because of the symbiotic relationship between the health of horseracing and the support and funding from the betting industry which in itself supports 110,000 jobs and generates £7.1bn for the economy.”

Nokes said politicians need to listen to the concerns of these stakeholders, especially those around affordability checks, which the gambling sector fears could send customers to the black market. That fear was supported by a recent survey conducted by Racing TV.

Nokes added: “I am very clear that Parliament and good regulation must protect the vulnerable and absolutely support that. But I equally want to see the vast majority who bet safely and happily to continue to be able to do so without such intrusion.

“So it is important that the white paper strikes the right balance. With a new Secretary of State in Lucy Frazer, who also happens to represent a rural constituency with deep racing connections (including part of Newmarket and the National Stud), I am confident it will.”

It’s still not clear who will take on responsibility for the gambling white paper. Despite reports that Stuart Andrew had been handed the gambling brief, no minister has been named following the government shakeup that saw Lucy Frazer put in charge of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Paul Scully, who left the DCMS in the restructuring, had been the fifth minister overseeing the review since it began in 2020.

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