Stewart Andrew to continue as UK Gambling Minister following cabinet reshuffle

November 16, 2023 8:08 PM
  • Sam Bentham, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
November 16, 2023 8:08 PM
  • Sam Bentham, Special to CDC Gaming Reports

A recent UK Government reshuffle has left the two most important government positions relating to the gambling industry, the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Sport, Gambling and Civil Society and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, unchanged. Stewart Andrew MP and Lucy Frazer MP remain in their respective posts.

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Andrew, MP for Pudsey, became the sixth minister overseeing the gambling industry upon his appointment to the role in the February 2023 reshuffle. Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, assumed her position, heading the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DDCMS), during the same reshuffle initiated by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Conservative MP has been at the center of discussions around the reform of the Gambling Act, initiated by the UK Government in 2020. The proposed reforms include imposing affordability checks on bettors, forcing them to prove they could afford losses should they meet monthly losses of £100 or more. These affordability checks would include punters providing their postcode and job title.

The reforms have been subject to significant controversy, including a petition to stop the proposed reforms signed by nearly 85,000 people. Should the petition reach 100,000 signatures, Parliament would debate the motion.

The Jockey Club used a November race meeting at Cheltenham to build support for the petition. Jockey Club managing director Ian Renton told the Racing Post, “The petition aims in part to highlight the need for any checks to achieve what they set out to and protect vulnerable punters without wider unintended consequences, and we’ll be using the platform that the home of jump racing provides this weekend to get as many people as possible who have not signed the petition to do so.”

A similar effort at Fakenham Racecourse on Monday, November 13, saw the front of the meeting’s racecard feature a plea to “Save Our Sport.” Other measures to build awareness included naming the second race of the meeting the “Save Our Sport Sign The Petition Handicap Hurdle.”

Andrew indicated in a press conference in April 2023 that the consultations and legislation would be completed before the next general election, slated between May 2024 and January 2025, saying, “Our intention is that everything will be introduced and in place by the summer of next year, so in time for the next general election.”

The Minister told the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee in September that changes would not come into place unless they would be as ‘frictionless’ as possible, saying, “Only when we are confident that it has delivered the frictionless tests that we have envisaged will we then look at rolling it out.”