BETTING AND GAMING COUNCIL WELCOME DCMS SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY AS A FURTHER OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW OUR COMMITMENT TO RAISING STANDARDS
The Betting and Gaming council has today welcomed the DCMS Select Committee inquiry as a further opportunity for the regulated industry to show our continued commitment to raising standards in safer gambling and to demonstrating our support for the UK economy.
The Betting and Gaming Council was established three years ago and represents over 90 per cent of the regulated industry, from retail betting and bingo operators to world leading online betting and gaming operators and internationally renowned casinos. As the single industry body, we work with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gambling and build public and institutional trust in our world class industry.
We have introduced scores of new safer betting and gaming measures, including tools which empower consumers to make choices around their play, from time-outs to deposit limits, combined with a carefully targeted approach that uses the best technology to identify and help problem gamblers and those who may be vulnerable. Our members also ensure that 20 per cent of all TV and radio advertising is safer gambling messaging – backed by our ground-breaking Take Time to Think campaign.
According to a recent report by EY (Nov 2022), the UK remains a global leader on betting and gaming, supporting 110,000 jobs on our hard-pressed high streets as well as hospitality, leisure, tourism and in tech powerhouses across the country. The report also found that the industry contributes £7.1bn in total Gross Value Added to the UK economy and £4.2bn to the Treasury in taxes annually. It also provides much needed funding to many of the nation’s favourite sports including £350m into horse racing, £40m into the English Football League and many millions more into snooker, darts and rugby league.
Every month some 22.5 million adults in the UK play the lottery, enjoy a game of bingo or have a bet on football, horse racing and other sports. Meanwhile, the UK sector is one of the best regulated in the world, with problem gambling rates among the lowest in Europe at 0.3 per cent, according to the independent regulator.
The inquiry must also be mindful of the fact that further restrictions could push customers to the black market. Other European countries applying tough sanctions on betting, including restrictions on stakes, blanket affordability checks and curbs on advertising, have witnessed an increase in black market betting. Norway’s black market now accounts for over 66 per cent of all money staked, in France it is 57 per cent, while in In Italy 23 per cent of money bet is on illicit sites.
Michael Dugher, BGC Chief Executive said: “As the standards body for much of the regulated industry, we strongly welcome this inquiry announced today as a further opportunity for the regulated sector to show our continued commitment to raising standards in safer gambling.
“I am sure that the Committee’s inquiry, like the Government’s Gambling Review, will be genuinely ‘evidence-led’ and has to strike a careful balance in making recommendations that are about protecting the vulnerable, whilst not unfairly impacting on the millions of customers who bet perfectly safely and responsibly.
“Problem gambling may be low by international standards at 0.3 per cent, but one problem gambler is one too many. So we look forward to hearing from the Committee about what more can be done. We must also ensure that they do not drive people to the unsafe, unregulated black market online, where there aren’t any safeguards to protect vulnerable people.
“On behalf of over 110,000 people whose jobs depend on the regulated betting and gaming industry, we also look forward to setting out the contribution our industry makes to the UK economy and our commitment to further investment”.