Date: 10.07.2024

by Adam Dworak

Helen Peacock Takes Helm as Gambling Minister Amidst Reform Commitments

Helen Peacock has been appointed as the parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Peacock, who was elected as MP for Barnsley South in the 2024 general election, previously served as Shadow Minister for Media, Gambling, and Sport since 2023, while the Labour Party was in opposition. Before representing Barnsley South, she was the MP for Barnsley East from 2017, succeeding Betting and Gaming Council chairman Michael Dugher.

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Professional Background

Peacock’s career prior to entering politics included working as a teacher and later as a political officer for the GMB trade union. Her diverse background provides her with a unique perspective on issues related to media, gambling, and sport, which will be crucial in her new role as gambling minister.

Leadership Under Lisa Nandy

In her ministerial position, Peacock will work under the newly appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lisa Nandy. Nandy, who has been the Labour MP for Wigan since 2010, has held several prominent positions in the opposition, including Shadow Foreign Secretary, Shadow Levelling Up Secretary, Shadow Energy Secretary, and Shadow International Development Minister.

Labour Government’s Commitment to Gambling Reform

The Labour Party, in its 2024 electoral campaign manifesto, committed to continuing the work of gambling reform. The manifesto stated, “Labour is committed to reducing gambling-related harm. Recognising the evolution of the gambling landscape since 2005, Labour will reform gambling regulation, strengthening protections. We will continue to work with the industry on how to ensure responsible gambling.”

Ongoing and Future Reforms

The new government inherits ongoing consultations at the Gambling Commission, including the implementation of ‘affordability checks’. However, several measures will require new primary legislation to be passed through parliament. These reforms include planned changes for the land-based sector, such as increasing the number of slot machines at casinos.