Chris Philp named UK Gambling Minister

| By Richard Mulligan
Chris Philp has been named as the UK’s Gambling Minister following the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Philp was last week appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

His appointment as Gambling Minister was confirmed today (22 September) following comments he made in his new role relating to the independent report into the regulation of BetIndex. The report found that the Gambling Commission was too slow in its regulation of collapsed operator Football Index, and was unaware that operator offered a product it may not have been licensed to offer for more than three years.

A DCMS spokesperson confirmed Philp would replace John Whittingdale, who was removed from the position last week, in overseeing the gambling industry in the UK. The spokesperson said Philp’s full title and range of responsibilities has yet to be finalised, but they confirmed he would oversee the gambling brief, including the Gambling Act review.

As a backbench MP, Philp had campaigned for stricter regulation of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), ahead of the 2018 decision to cut the maximum stake allowed on the machines. This presents a stark difference from Whittingdale – who had led a committee that proposed an expansion of proliferation of the machines prior to his time overseeing gambling.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, highlighted the work the gambling sector does and progress it has made as he prepared to work with Philp.

“On behalf of the 119,000 people whose jobs are supported by BGC members, I welcome Chris Philp as the new minister responsible for gambling,” he said. “He comes to the brief with an excellent reputation as a talented and extremely capable minister

“We have made excellent progress working towards the Gambling Review white paper and we are sure that the Government will not wish to lose momentum

“BGC members generate £4.5bn in taxes to help pay for our public services and contribute £7.7bn for the economy in gross value added, so it’s vitally important that the Government continues with the evidence-led approach it has taken to the Review until now.

“I look forward to working with Chris in the months ahead as the BGC continues to drive big changes and higher standards on safer gambling, ensuring we get the balance right between protecting the vulnerable while ensuring that the millions who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly have the freedom to do so.”

Philp, who has been the MP for Croydon South since 2015, has previously held junior roles at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. He was also Minister for London at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 2019 to 2020.

The 45-year-old was the Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Policy from 2018 to 2019 and has twice served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to current Health Secretary Sajid Javid. He was a member of the Treasury Committee for two years and took committee positions relating to the Nationality and Borders Bill and Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Philp graduated from University College, Oxford before embarking on an entrepreneurial career prior to his election to Parliament in 2015.

The Review of the Gambling Act 2005 launched late last year with a call for evidence covering a number of topics such as marketing, limits and the Gambling Commission. A white paper examining next steps is set to be published later this year.

Oliver Dowden, the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), stated in 2020 that the 2005 Gambling Act is being reviewed in order to “bring the Gambling Act into the digital age.”

Dowden was replaced as Culture Secretary by Nadine Dorries in last week’s reshuffle.

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