A long-delayed gambling White Paper is “desperately” needed, a former Conservative leader has said.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm, said he was optimistic that the Government was now open to tougher reform of the gambling industry.
It comes after the Gambling Commission said that three gambling businesses owned by William Hill will pay a total of £19.2 million for “widespread and alarming” social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
“The fine is a good idea and I am pleased, but it does beg the question why we need the White Paper desperately now,” Sir Iain told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme.
But the senior Tory MP suggested that Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer has “rowed in behind” some of the reform proposals from MPs, when asked why there had been so many delays.
“I think the Government was uneasy about greater regulation. They weren’t keen on regulating the companies more than they had,” he said.
“We made the case, bit by bit that has changed. That’s what’s delayed the first element of it. Secondly, it was what would go into the White Paper and there have been debates and arguments, I think in government, about were they going too far. I think those have ended now.
“We are hearing strong messages that all these things that I’ve talked about – the statutory levy, the affordability checks, hopefully the banning of VIP rooms, all of these things and the powers to the commission and the determination for the commission to use them, I hope will be in the White Paper, in which case then we are at last on our way to getting a better regulated – not overregulated – better regulated gambling industry.”