PM Boris Johnson has appointed Nadine Dorries as the new Culture Secretary of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as a review of the 2005 Gambling Act continues.

As Secretary of the DCMS, Dorries will be responsible for leading a department that continues to govern the UK sports industry

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the DCMS was responsible for determining the amount of fans allowed in stadiums, alongside other proposals such as fans in tier 1 and 2 areas permitted into grounds, subject to certain conditions.

In a ministerial reshuffle, former DCMS leader, Oliver Dowden, has been promoted to Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, replacing Amanda Milling who has faced a senior cabinet demotion.

Although considered an extremely ‘vocal’ member of the Conservative Party, little is known of Dorries opinions on the gambling sector.

Dorries last vote on gambling reforms was recorded in 2014, when she voted against giving local councils powers to prevent the proliferation of fixed odds betting terminals and betting shops.

As Mental Health Minister, Dorries replied to a query on gambling-related suicides stating that her department could make no assessment on the number of suicides linked to problem gambling in the UK due to “unreliable evidence that gambling is the determining factor.

As a result of the review, football clubs could be prevented from being the sponsee of gambling firms if new sports advertising laws go ahead, majorly impacting eight of the 20 Premier League teams with current betting sponsors. 

The list includes West Ham, Newcastle United and Leeds United to name a few, whilst also affecting 17 of these top-flight clubs which have betting partners that advertise around the pitch, on training kit and on social media.

In December 2020, talks of the betting and stakeholder industry being reviewed was brought to reality as Oliver Dowden confirmed the DCMS analysis. In line with the actions, a complete ban on all gambling sponsorship of sports club kits as well as venue advertising is to be further discussed, although this would be postponed until 2023 for English Football League (EFL) clubs.

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