The continuous effort to overhaul the UK Gambling Laws could be delayed even further, following the appointment of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.
The reforms, which now spans two years in the making, have been delayed multiple times. The latest halt came in July when a vote of no confidence from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent the government into disarray.
The plan before that was to publish a White Paper this month. It may not happen right now as the government has been forced to re-organize itself over the last two months.
The reshuffle ended on Monday when Truss won a leadership race and became prime minister. She immediately began hiring and firing, a process that brought Michelle Donelan, a supporter of gambling reform, into the picture.
Changes to UK Gambling Laws may have to wait
Michelle Donelan became the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), succeeding Nadine Dorries who held the post under Johnson. As DCMS head, Donelan will oversee the rollout of any new UK Gambling Laws.
What those laws would be is still unclear. The White Paper has not yet been published and for now it is still not an official document. This means changes could still be made before it sets out the laws that all licensed gambling operators in the UK will have to follow.
Inside sources and rumors speculated previously that betting limits for online casino games will be lowered. According to some people in the industry, there might be changes to VIP and loyalty programs. Still, nobody aside from those involved in writing the White Paper knows what's coming.
Donelan in favor of Gambling Reform
The question remains as to whether the appointment of Michelle Donelan, a former marketing manager for WWE, could change anything.
Chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Michael Dugher said that her appointment was "well-deserved" and reminded Donelan of the gambling industry's economic impact.
Dugher said in a press release: "On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by our members - from the high street to hospitality, from tourism to tech - I'd like to congratulate Michelle Donelan on her new role as Secretary of State for DCMS. Our industry generates £4.5bn in taxes for the Treasury and contributes £7.7bn for the economy in gross value added.
We have been working extremely closely with the DCMS over many years to help the Government find the right balance in the Gambling Review, so that we continue to drive big changes and higher standards on safer gambling to better protect the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time ensuring that the millions of people who enjoy an occasional flutter perfectly safely and responsibly have the freedom to do so."
Donelan's political past indicates she has been a supporter of gambling reform since 2018. She was one of the MPs who voted to have the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) reduced to £2.
At that time, her assessment on gambling was it had "destroyed far too many lives" and that the dramatic increase in advertising was "preying on the vulnerable". While she hasn't yet made her current opinions on gambling public, she will however take on her new role knowing reform is along the way and that she has an opportunity to shape UK gambling laws.