Following Prime Minister David Cameron second term cabinet reshuffle, John Whittingdale the current Chair of the House of Commons Culture , Media and Sports Committee has been appointed UK Culture Secretary replacing Sajid Javid.
Whittingdale who will take on the government’s media, cultural and sporting initiatives will work closely with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on political concerns regarding UK gambling industry’s promotion and social responsibility.
To date Whittingdale has taken a considered approach to UK Gambling issues, recognising both social and industry concerns whilst further I welcome the debate as an opportunity to bring some light to the subject, rather than the large amount of smoke that has obscured it so far, but that might be a statement of hope, rather than experience.
Commenting on the monitoring of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), Whittingdale stated the following in January 2014
“It is important to bring some perspective to the debate. Gambling is a legitimate activity that brings considerable pleasure to millions of people in this country, that generates a lot of economic activity and that provides employment and tax revenue for the Government. Betting shops are not a blight on the high street; they are regulated and controlled environments that provide employment and, in some cases, a social benefit. recognising the industry as a tax generator”
Working alongside the UKGC, Whittingdale will soon likely announce the replacement of Jenny Williams as Chief Executive of the UKGC. In April the governing body announced that it would delay its decision until the conclusion of May’s UK General Election