During a meeting of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee held on July 11, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) highlighted the importance of responsible gambling and urged the Committee to consider the wider implications of the White Paper on gambling regulation. In his testimony, BGC CEO Michael Dugher emphasized the voice of the 22.5 million responsible bettors in the UK, urging MPs to recognize their contributions to society.
BGC Stresses Importance of White Paper Reforms to Curb Problem Gambling
Dugher acknowledged that these individuals are hardworking citizens who pay taxes, support their families, and engage in recreational betting as a personal choice. He commended the economic contributions made by BGC members and expressed his strong support for the White Paper’s proposed reforms, which were unveiled in April.
The White Paper aims to elevate industry standards, protect vulnerable individuals, and safeguard the 110,000 jobs supported by regulated betting and gaming. It includes measures such as enhanced spending checks for online gambling, the establishment of an industry ombudsman, the introduction of a mandatory levy to fund research and treatment, stake limits for online slots, and modernization proposals for casinos.
The BGC team also emphasized the need to address the harm experienced by problem gamblers, who make up just 0.3% of the UK population. Dugher stated that this issue has been a key focus for industry stakeholders, who have been actively working to mitigate problem gambling rates. He noted that problem gambling rates have nearly halved since 2017, making the current rate one of the lowest internationally, despite the growing popularity of gambling activities.
BGC Addresses Sports Advertising Concerns and Pushes for Casino Modernization
Wes Himes, the BGC’s executive director of standards and innovation, highlighted the industry’s commitment to creating a safer gambling culture. Himes stated that the BGC has developed 11 codes and implemented over 80 substantial measures in addition to existing regulations and legislation. These efforts are aimed at ensuring responsible gambling practices and protecting individuals from harm.
During the committee session, the BGC also addressed concerns regarding the alleged connection between sports advertising and problem gambling. The council firmly stated that there is no evidence supporting this claim. Furthermore, the BGC called for expedited modernization plans for casinos, stressing the importance of providing businesses with the necessary measures to thrive in an evolving industry landscape.
The regulated betting and gaming industry plays a significant role in the UK economy, contributing £7.1 billion ($9.3 billion) annually and supporting over 100,000 jobs. Betting shops alone account for approximately 42,000 jobs and contribute £1 billion ($1.3 billion) in tax revenue to the Treasury, as well as £60 million ($78.8 million) in business rates to local councils.
The BGC is now collaborating closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission to further refine the proposed reforms outlined in the White Paper. By engaging in consultations and ongoing discussions, the council aims to ensure that the interests of responsible bettors, industry workers, and the wider community are represented and protected.