I’m sure you’re all very busy getting ready for Christmas, so this is only a short update from me.
I was hoping to write now with a detailed update on the white paper as we had been expecting its publication before Christmas, but we are now not expecting it until January or February.
With a relatively new Gambling Minister, Paul Scully, and Secretary of State at DCMS, Michelle Donelan in post, we don’t see this delay as a bad thing. It does feel that they are really looking at the details and may even strengthen some of the areas where there had been pushback. We’d rather they got it right than rushed out a diluted version. This week we went to meet the SoS and Minister to discuss what we wanted to see in the white paper.
There was a lot of talk about "balance" but we left them in no doubt about the scale of harms and the urgency for action: deaths and massive harms are still happening every day. We focused on the need for a statutory levy, affordability checks at sufficiently low levels to catch people before they have been drawn into addiction, action to make products safer and a ban on advertising. Advertising seems to be the area where we are likely to see the least progress. But we pushed them hard and they know that we will not be going away.
We all went away feeling relatively positive: they had certainly listened and engaged. Let’s see.
A couple of other things to fill you in on: earlier this month, six mums from GwL families, including Liz, handed a letter in at 10 Downing Street. Along with Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, they urged the Prime Minister to implement a statutory levy and finally end the industry’s harmful control of information, education, and treatment. For more, watch this Sky News report.
Six mums bereaved by gambling suicide were joined by Sir Iain Duncan Smith at Downing St.
In case you missed it, Cassetteboy has made a brilliant video about the farcical political situation regarding regulation and lobbying that has led us to the point we’re at now. It really is very good – you can watch it below.
Cassetteboy's "Regulate the Gambling Industry".
That’s all from me, except to send our love and care this Christmas.
Thank you for all your support in 2022 – here’s looking towards a productive New Year.
Charles Ritchie Co-chair of Trustees, Gambling with Lives