Gambling White Paper Gains Support from UK’s BGC
During a session of the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee on July 11, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) emphasized the importance of responsible gambling.
Additionally, it called upon the Committee to consider the broader impact of the recent governmental White Paper on gambling regulations. BGC CEO Michael Dugher, during his testimony, referenced the 22.5 million responsible UK gamblers, urging lawmakers to acknowledge their societal contributions.
BGC Endorses White Paper to Tackle Problem Gambling
Dugher recognized these individuals as hardworking citizens who pay their taxes, provide for their families, and choose responsible gambling as a leisure activity. He appreciated the economic contributions made by BGC members and expressed his firm support for the reforms proposed in the White Paper.
The aim of the White Paper is to raise industry standards, and protect both the vulnerable people and the 110,000 jobs created by regulated betting and gaming. It suggests various strategies such as intensifying expenditure checks for online gambling, setting up an industry ombudsman, introducing a mandatory levy to finance research and treatment, imposing betting limits on online slots, and proposing modernization plans for casinos.
The BGC also highlighted the need to address the harm experienced by problem gamblers, who represent just 0.3% of the UK population. Dugher reported that industry stakeholders have actively worked on decreasing problem gambling rates. He pointed out that problem gambling rates have almost halved since 2017, resulting in one of the lowest rates worldwide, despite the rise in gambling activities.
BGC Calls for Casino Modernization
Wes Himes, BGC’s executive director of standards and innovation, underscored the industry's commitment to fostering a safer gambling environment. He stated that the BGC has developed 11 codes and put into action over 80 substantial measures in addition to existing rules and laws to ensure responsible gambling and shield people from harm.
In the committee meeting, the BGC also addressed apprehensions about the alleged link between sports advertising and problem gambling. The council categorically asserted that there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. Moreover, the BGC advocated for the fast-tracked modernization of casinos, emphasizing the need to equip businesses with the necessary measures to flourish in a rapidly changing industry.
The regulated betting and gaming industry is a key player in the UK economy, contributing £7.1 billion annually and supporting over 100,000 jobs. Betting shops support roughly 42,000 jobs and contribute £1 billion in tax revenue to the Treasury, in addition to £60 million in business rates to local councils.
The BGC is now working intensively with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Gambling Commission to fine-tune the proposed reforms in the White Paper. By participating in consultations and ongoing discussions, the council aims to ensure that the interests of responsible gamblers, industry employees, and the broader community are acknowledged and safeguarded.