Speaking to Nick Luck and Racing TV on Sunday, experienced MP John Whittingdale evaluated whether the current turmoil within the government will impact the timeline for the review of the UK Gambling Act, as he emphasised the need for greater protection.
He added that the controversy arises when it comes to what is viewed as ‘a really harsh crackdown on gambling’.
The Conservative MP commented: “I don’t think that necessarily it would prove to be universally popular on the Conservative benches or a lot of Conservative MPs who recognise that gambling is an activity which millions of people enjoy without any harm, and also that it supports an awful lot of jobs.
“That’s particularly the case amongst the new MPs from the northern constituencies, which have not traditionally been conservative, so I don’t think necessarily that cracking down on gambling is going to prove universally popular on the Tory benches.”
It comes at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson is embroiled in a battle to regain the adulation of disgruntled backbenchers, especially those in the newly won Northern seats.
When it comes to the current attitude of MPs towards the gambling industry, Whittingdale added that ‘In both houses, the Commons and Lords, there are members who are very hostile to gambling because they do see it as dangerous and creating great distress in society and they want much tougher measures’.
Nonetheless, he also outlined: “They are balanced, generally, by those others who see gambling as a perfectly legitimate activity which people can choose whether or not to enjoy. But there is political pressure from those who are much more opposed to it, and that is something which will need to be taken into account but you are also right for instance when we talk about advertising, not only is it extremely important for racing and other sports. The gambling industry sponsors a large number of football teams, for instance, who would struggle in the lower leagues if it was removed.”