Jeremy Wright Could Reshape the UK Gambling Industry

The UK Government, in the midst of a Brexit turmoil resulting in several recent resignations by some of the key ministers such as Boris Johnson, has appointed Jeremy Wright as the new Culture Secretary. He will be replacing, Matt Hancock, who has been switched to the Health Secretary post. Wright will be leading the department responsible for sport and gambling.

This announcement was met with caution and a relatively warm reception by the gambling industry in the UK, most notably The Remote Gambling Association (RGA). Wright and Minister of Sport Tracey Crouch, three months ago, announced the reduction of maximum stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2, in order to minimize the gambling-related harm.

RGA’s Clive Hawkswood commented: “After the protracted debate around FOBTs and the Triennial review process, I think the wider industry really needs a period of stability, so I’d suggest it could be counter-productive for anyone to rush forward with a shopping list of issues they might like him to consider.”

The Association of British Bookmakers has stated that they are “looking forward to working with Jeremy Wright to ensure sustainable and responsible retail betting industry.”, even though ABB estimates that the proposed FOBT stake reduction could lead to 21,000 jobs lost and 4,000 shops closed. They’ve added: “Betting shops are facing a massive threat as the new maximum stake on gaming machines will result in thousands of shop closures, job losses and significant economic consequences for horse and greyhound racing. It is vital that we work with the Secretary of State and his department to mitigate these impacts where possible and ensure that betting shops remain one of the safest environments in which to gamble in the UK.”

The past year was a wildly successful year for gambling industry in the United Kingdom. From April 2017 to March 2018, the total gross gambling yield was £13.9 billion.