A government white paper setting out plans to tackle problems in the gambling industry has been delayed due to the Conservative leadership election, Sky News understands.

The document was already being held up in Downing Street because of senior Tories – including those at the Treasury – opposing further regulations on businesses.

But MPs who have been watching the white paper closely said that, despite the plans being ready to publish, Number 10 will not go ahead while Boris Johnson is only in post as a caretaker prime minister.

Sky News has contacted Number 10 and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a response.

A government source refused to confirm the delay, but said discussions were ongoing.

Politics Hub: Sunak and Truss into final five as Mordaunt makes most gains

The government launched a review into the 2005 Gambling Act almost two years ago to “ensure gambling regulation is fit for the digital age”.

The then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the work would help “protect children and vulnerable people” and “help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely”.

A white paper with its conclusions had been expected in late 2021, but the review has still not been seen in the light of day.

Measures that could make up the recommendations include a levy on gambling companies to pay for addiction treatment and the banning of gambling advertising on football shirts.

But the Betting and Gaming Council warned ministers against “sticking their nose into how people choose to spend their own money”, adding: “The last thing they should be doing at this time is damaging business and sport.”

‘Massively disappointing’

Former leader and Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been a staunch campaigner for gambling reform, said he was “massively disappointed” the white paper had been delayed yet again.

“I had my concerns about what was in it, or what was not in it. But whatever it was would have been an advance.”

However, he hoped the mantel would be picked up by the next resident in Number 10, saying: “It is all ready and all there in a package for when the next leader comes in.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.