Matt Hancock leads DCMS in critical year for UK gambling sector

West Suffolk MP, Matt Hancock has been promoted to Secretary of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) following yesterday’s Conservative government cabinet reshuffle.

Hancock (39), has served DCMS as Minister of Digital & Culture since 2016 and will replace Karen Bradley as leader of the department overseeing UK media and culture; standards, promotions, regulatory policies and social practices.

In its remit, DCMS oversees the implementation of gambling laws regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

The appointment of Hancock as DCMS leader should be viewed positively by industry leaders. Hancock has been a staunch supporter of  UK racing in Parliamentary debates as a Junior Minister.

Furthermore, the MP has been a key policy stakeholder in 2017’s reform of the Horseracing Racing Betting Levy, reducing a number of administrative costs for the sport.

Hancock takes leadership of DCMS, at a critical point for the UK gambling industry, which currently awaits the final judgement of its delayed triennial review on FOBTs machine wagering levels and sector-wide advertising standards.

Industry governance is in-acceptance, that the UK government will reduce the current £100 (per 20 seconds) max-bet level on machine betting, but wish to avoid the ‘nightmare scenario’ of a reduction to under £20.

Following a 2017 marred by industry high coverage social responsibility failures, sector commentators expect tougher marketing policies and standards to be introduced on UK gambling operators, in what has become a politicised debate.

As DCMS leader, Hancock will continue to be supported by Tracey Crouch as Sports & Civil Society Minister, overseeing development and funding for UK sports.

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