Damian Collins becomes latest minister responsible for Gambling Act review

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He will be the fourth minister to have led the review since it launched.

Collins taking charge of gambling policy was confirmed by a spokesperson for the DCMS, who said that the change will soon be updated on government websites.

The appointment comes at an uncertain time for the gaming industry; with the long-awaited Gambling Act review white paper due within weeks. Collins will take charge of this review, taking over from his predecessor Chris Philp who stepped down last week, though in his resignation statement Philp said the white paper had already been presented to the Prime Minister.

Philp had himself replaced John Whittingdale, who replaced Nigel Huddleston.

The document is expected to cover a comprehensive array of topics relating to the sector and point the way for future legislative reform that will seek to update the 2005 Gambling Act.

In addition, the recent resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, is another unpredictable variable in the future of the review. Johnson’s replacement as Conservative Party leader and prime minister may once again change the ministerial leadership or propose their own changes to the review.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the industry advocate the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), heralded the move 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?!”

This friendly reception from industry contrasts with that of his predecessor Chris Philp, who as a backbench MP campaigned for stricter regulation of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), ahead of the 2018 decision to cut the maximum stake permitted on the machines. 

On the other hand, Whittingdale had also been seen as friendly to the sector.

Collins has been member of parliament for Folkestone and Hythe since the 2010 general election and chairs the joint committee on the draft online safety bill. From 2016-19 he also chaired the House of Commons DCSM select committee

He studied modern history at St Benet’s Hall at the University of Oxford and in 1995 was the president of the Oxford University Conservative Association.  

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