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PM Sunak appoints new culture secretary

| By Richard Mulligan
The UK government has announced a restructuring of the department with responsibility for gambling, with digital policy now separated from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Lucy Frazer

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has outlined plans for a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and a “refocused” DCMS, which no longer features digital.

Former culture secretary Michelle Donelan will head the new DSIT, with Lucy Frazer her replacement at the slimmed down DCMS. Frazer is the MP for South East Cambridgeshire, a constituency that houses the July Course at Newmarket and the National Stud.

The changes come as the government is set to publish the much-awaited Gambling Act white paper. The white paper, which was commissioned in 2020, has already been delayed a number of times, including as a result of the changes in government in 2022.

There has been no announcement as to whether gambling will remain within the department that covers sport or move across to DSIT. It has also yet to be confirmed whether Paul Scully, the minister with responsibility for gambling, will remain at the DCMS.

Late last month, Scully said the white paper would be unveiled “in the next few weeks” but warned its publication would not be the end of the process.

“I want to be clear though, that the white paper is not the final word on gambling reform,” he said. “It will be followed by consultations led by both DCMS and the Gambling Commission. I want the industry to stay engaged as policies are refined, finalised and implemented.

“We are putting the finishing touches to our white paper, making the final decisions and preparing for publication. We’re a matter of weeks away from you all seeing it, and then we can start the process of nailing down details and implementing reforms.”

The UK government officially launched the review of the 2005 Gambling Act in December 2020, with stake limits, the role of the Gambling Commission and new ad restrictions to be considered. An initial call for evidence ran for 16 weeks until March 2021.

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