UK Labor Party Official Takes a Positive Approach to Gambling

Shadow secretary of state for DCMS expresses stand at BISL gathering

The gambling industry in the UK got another supporter in shape of the UK’s Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Ivan Lewis MP, whose address to recent Business In Sport & Leisure (BISL) members meeting underlined his position on the pastime.

Namely, he told BISL members that he regarded gambling as a mainstream leisure activity for the vast majority of the UK population: “My position is that for a small number, gambling is either a problem or has the potential to become a problem. Where that’s the case we have to have systems in place which provide protection. Beyond that it is clear that large numbers of the UK population enjoy gambling and that it is a part of their leisure choice.”

“My focus is on legitimate intervention and to work with the gambling industry, which has demonstrated a firm commitment to social responsibility.”

In addition, Lewis opined that the Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) needs to be more robust, hinting that decisions regarding the gambling sector were being made in other parts of government.

In favor of the election of a future Labor government, he added: “My aims for DCMS are for it to be a more economic department, for it to be a more heavyweight department and for it to have a much stronger voice across Whitehall.”

The Shadow Secretary also invited BISL members to submit a list of ‘barmy (mad) regulations’ as part of an undertaking to try and rid commerce of unnecessary red tape. He also opined that if the Labor Party was perceived as a party of punitive taxation, it would never get voted back into the government again.

In conclusion, BISL chief exec Dominic Harrison assessed: “It was very encouraging to hear a senior member of the Labour Party respond to questions from our members in such a positive way. Mr Lewis demonstrated a pragmatic as opposed to a dogmatic approach to both the business world generally and the gambling industry in particular. I think BISL’s broad church approach to key issues allows it to engage with politicians and decision makers and take the debate forward in a constructive way.

“I am certain this will be the start of a positive relationship with Ivan Lewis and another strand of the constructive dialogue the gambling industry needs to put in place with mainstream politicians.”

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