Prime Minister’s Cabinet Reshuffle Sees Dowden Take DCMS Role
Boris Johnson’s first cabinet reshuffle since his general election win has seen Oliver Dowden becoming the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary.
Dowden replaces the outgoing Nicky Morgan, who received a peerage by the Prime Minister in December as a reward for retaining her job as culture secretary until the reshuffle was completed. Morgan had only been in the role a short time herself, replacing Jeremy Wright in July 2019.
As part of the Conservative’s manifesto pledge, they promised to “legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online”. The Tories said they would perform a complete review of the Gambling Act which the party described as “increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age”. One of Dowden’s first tasks in office will be to explain what this new law will look like and try and find common ground between the iGaming industry and regulators and campaigners.
The gambling industry’s trade body, the Betting and Gaming Council, said they welcomed Dowden’s appointment, citing his influence and the forthcoming opportunity to work with him, BGC CEO Michael Dugher said:
We welcome Oliver Dowden’s appointment. He has a formidable reputation in Westminster and Whitehall, and we look forward to working closely with the new Secretary of State and the DCMS team as the government’s review of the Gambling Act gets underway. – Michael Dugher, BGC CEO
Dugher also paid tribute to Downden’s predecessor, saying, “I’d also like to record my thanks to Nicky Morgan, who has done an excellent job in her time as secretary of state.”
Another change in government that could have implications on the gambling industry is the appointment of Rishi Sunak as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the surprise appointment of the reshuffle, Sunak replaces Sajid Javid who resigned from the Number 11 role.
Javid’s resignation was a response to the Prime Minister’s demands that he fire his team of aides. A request he said “no self-respecting minister” could accept and left with immediate effect, the role he took up in July 2019.
Javid has extensive knowledge of finance, he worked as Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank and held a Managing Director role at Deutsche Bank, before pursuing a political career in 2009. He was elected Conservative MP for Bromsgrove in 2010 and has held several jobs in government including Oliver Dowden’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport secretary role.
Sunak, in comparison, is inexperienced, especially in finance. Holding only one post before, in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019. Sunak moved to the Treasury in July 2019 becoming chief secretary to Javid, the man he replaced last Thursday.
An immediate effect on the gambling industry could be the delaying of the government’s budget. It was originally planned to be delivered on the 11th of March. However, this date now looks unlikely with Rishi’s appointment and the short time scales involved.
The industry is already bracing itself for the impact of the ban on credit card gambling which comes into effect on the 14th of April. Industry insiders believe the gambling industry could be the subject of increased taxation when the budget is announced. There are also calls for a mandatory levy to be placed on each bet to help fund the rising costs of treating those with gambling-related issues.