Gambling consultant Steve Donoughue has weighed in on the results of the General Election, saying the Conservative Party’s triumph could see the British gambling sector “muddle through”.
Donoughue believes all MPs share a generally anti-gambling sentiment, especially in light of the decisions made recently concerning fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Despite this current anti-gambling sentiment, however, he still believes the Tories’ victory is a better outcome for the UK gambling industry. The Labour Party was known to champion anti-gambling policies as well, but Donoughue feels that the Tories’ focus on Brexit is likely to steer them away from monitoring the sector too closely or policing it too heavily.
When asked for comment, this is what Donoughue had to say: “The fact Boris Johnson has got the biggest Tory majority since 1987 and Jeremy Corbyn has got the lowest number of Labour seats since 1935 can only be a cause for celebration for the British gambling industry. Not a big party with balloons and a cake, but one of those office-based things with no alcohol, rubbish biscuits, and everyone just dying to go home. For practically all MPs basically dislike gambling now thanks to the way the big three bookmakers amateurishly dealt with FOBTs.”
Donoughue went on to add, “But what we now have is a Tory government focused on Brexit for the next few years, and as long as they can keep away from giving the gambling Ministership to someone susceptible to militant propaganda, we should be able to muddle through.”
As far as Donoughue is concerned, an eve bigger plus for the gambling sector is the recent establishment of the new Betting & Gaming Council. Under the leadership of Chairperson Brigid Simmons OBE and CEO Michael Dugher, which Donoughue describes as “superb”, he is confident that the industry will no longer be “going backwards”. “The really good news is the new Betting & Gaming Council has an absolutely superb Chair in Brigid Simmonds and a super talented CEO in ex-Labour MP Michael Dugher,” he said.
“Both know Westminster intimately, both are professional lobbyists, and both are super intelligent,” Donoughue added. “So, with an almost neutral Government and a crack team at the trade association, hopefully no more bad things will happen. We can’t expect extra goodies until the industry rebuilds its reputation, of course, but hopefully, we’re not going backwards anymore.”
Donoughue’s comments come amidst the general uncertainty felt by people within the UK gambling industry after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election victory. Most people believe there could be some significant changes in store for UK gambling regulation, as there is likely to be an overhaul of government departments in the months to come. At this time, the oversight of gambling falls under the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). However, people are doubting the future of DCMS following the election results.
Nicky Morgan will retain her position as Culture Secretary for now, despite no longer being an MP, but some people believe it will be a short stint and someone else will likely take her place after a reshuffle following Brexit in 2020.