A landmark review of gambling laws looks set to be delayed again.
Following a last-minute intervention by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Bill could now be held back or even neutered, a source said last night.
The Minister for Government Efficiency is said to have complained that the ‘nanny state’ proposals represent an unwarranted intervention in people’s lives and should be ditched.
The long-awaited overhaul of Britain’s outdated gambling regulations is due to be published next week. But Mr Rees-Mogg has demanded further details of proposed measures such as caps on the stakes placed in online casinos before the package can be released.
A Whitehall source said: ‘Rees-Mogg is trying to block it. He is telling MPs that the whole thing is a load of nanny state nonsense.
‘It’s ideological with him – he doesn’t think the state has a role in dealing with problem gambling despite the misery it causes. For now he is using delaying tactics – raising a whole load of questions about the details – but it looks like his agenda is to block it.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Minister for Government Efficiency, is said to have complained that the ‘nanny state’ proposals towards the nation’s gambling laws represent an unwarranted intervention in people’s lives and should be ditched.
Any delay to the review will fuel concerns that a clampdown on the gambling industry could be watered down further.
Campaigners are already alarmed at reports that a proposed levy to help treat problem gamblers could be dropped.
And there is concern a planned ban on gambling firms sponsoring Premier League football clubs and teams across other sports could be replaced by voluntary measures. However, a planned cap on stakes at online casinos of between £2 and £5 has so far survived, bringing the industry into line with machines in high street betting shops.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said it was ‘nonsense’ to describe the curbs as a nanny state intervention. He added that Britain’s gambling laws are hopelessly outdated and unable to deal with the explosion in online betting.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said it was ‘nonsense’ to describe the curbs as a nanny state intervention
Sir Iain said: ‘Gambling companies are behaving atrociously. People need protection because they are getting into terrible difficulties. We have a situation where companies are making huge sums from people’s misery – some of these people are getting into horrendous debts and even committing suicide.’
The Daily Mail has long campaigned for action to curb the scourge of gambling addiction.
A source close to Mr Rees-Mogg denied he was trying to block the reforms but acknowledged he has asked for clarifications.
MPs were told yesterday that 500 problem gamblers have killed themselves since the review began last year.
SNP MP Peter Grant said: ‘I have heard the reasons and excuses for the delay in publishing the White Paper but, frankly, none of those excuses stand up to any scrutiny. Every day’s delay costs another human life.’
Commons Leader Mark Spencer said the plans would emerge ‘in the coming weeks’.