BGC Chairman Brigid Simmonds on the year ahead
The Betting and Gaming Council launched a year ago with 22 commitments on safer gambling, an issue that informed every aspect of our work to date, alongside our determination to improve standards in the industry.
As this review has shown, considerable progress has been made in meeting those commitments. But I am acutely aware that there is still more work to do and we look forward to working with our members to drive the safer gambling agenda.
As we look forward to the next 12 months, we also welcome the Gambling Review. This will be a wide-ranging exercise covering many areas. One of those is the debate on affordability, which is – to my mind – an issue of personal choice, provided the appropriate safeguards are in place. We hope that ministers will not lose sight of the need to strike the right balance between protecting the vulnerable while not spoiling the enjoyment of the vast majority of the 30 million people who enjoy a flutter every year and do so safely.
The ongoing Covid pandemic has brought the importance of advertising and sponsorship to sports such as football and racing into sharp focus. All our members put safer gambling at the heart of their sponsorship agreements, and this funding is a vital revenue stream for lower league clubs in particular.
There is, as ever, much to do. For the retail estates, remaining open and viable as the pandemic endures is a priority. But with a membership which represents over 95% of the regulated sector in the UK, we have the ability to work together and to speak with one voice to Government. We look forward to rising to that challenge.