Well it was bound to happen. Not the Triennial Review itself, but a delay to it. For an industry used to waiting for certainty on stakes and prizes, it has a further uncertain term pacing up and down like an expectant parent. It could be October, it could be slightly later, but at least the industry is now in the realms of ‘it could be’.
The government confirmed on Thursday 29 June that it will not publish the findings of its review of stakes and prizes until October at the earliest, a year after it was launched. Tracey Crouch, the minister with responsibility for gambling, revealed the news at Culture, Media and Sport questions in the House of Commons.
In answer to an enquiry from Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Crouch said: “Although we launched the review in October 2016, purdah interrupted the final stages of our consideration of the evidence received and the subsequent internal cross-government process of approval and sign-off.
“So therefore I’m afraid that we’re back at the start of that process and, as a consequence of that taking at least 12 weeks, I wouldn’t expect any further announcement until October at the earliest.”
Following a subsequent question from SNP MP David Linden asking when action would be taken, Crouch added: “I share the frustration of many people across the House. I have been dealing with this issue as a minister since I walked into the department in 2015.
“We must ensure that we have a proper evidence- based response to the issue of stakes and prizes. We are in the process of analysing that, but I should also point out that powers on the issue of FOBTs have been devolved to Scotland.”
Operators and industry trade bodies know all too well this frustration, however with MPs nipping at the heels of the DCMS, pressure is on to have the Triennial Review consultation document released as soon as possible – unless, of course, another election is called.
- The Department for Media, Culture and Sport has changed its name the department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, retaining the same DCMS acronym. The shift has been agreed between culture secretary Karen Bradley and Prime Minister Theresa May to reflect the growing importance of technology in government.
- “DCMS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and it is fitting now to include Digital in the name,” said Bradley.