Parliamentarians learn more about regulated betting and gaming, thanks to BGC
Parliamentarians from across the House once again enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the regulated betting and gaming sector and its investment in jobs, the economy and local communities during conference season, thanks to the Betting and Gaming Council.
During the Conservative Party Conference, the BGC hosted DCMS Minister responsible for Gambling, Stuart Andrew MP at Metropolitan Gaming’s Manchester235 Casino, where he had the opportunity to meet staff.
At Labour Party Conference, the BGC also had the pleasure of welcoming newly appointed Shadow Minister for Gambling, Stephanie Peacock MP at Rank’s Grosvenor Casino in Liverpool, to hear more about the casino sector.
Meanwhile the BGC also attended the Liberal Democrat Party Conference to take part in a series of roundtables on support for SMEs, the importance of the high street and combatting fraud.
The Minister and Shadow Minister also had the opportunity to meet other members of the BGC representing retail bookmakers on hard-pressed high streets and the online sector to learn more about an industry which supports 110,000 jobs nationwide.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher, said: “It was fantastic to host Stuart Andrew MP and Stephanie Peacock MP during conference season, where we were able to once again showcase the terrific contribution our members are making across the nation.
“There is a danger that the voice of people who work in the industry, as well as the millions of ordinary punters, can get lost. So it was great to see ministers, shadow ministers and other parliamentarians engaging with the BGC at the party conferences ahead of a general election in the next year.
“The debate around betting and gaming is often noisy, ill-informed and misleading. So it is vital the BGC and our members engage with MPs so they can see for themselves what our operators offer and the lengths they go to ensuring betting continues to be a safe and entertaining hobby for the many millions who enjoy it responsibly.”
It was particularly timely to hold Conference events at casinos, which are awaiting the modest, but mission critical modernisation proposals outlined in April’s White Paper, including allowing sports betting at venues and changes to the rules governing the number of gaming machines casino’s can offer customers.
Currently casinos, a vital pillar of the tourism and hospitality sector, employ more than 10,000 people catering to over 16 million customer visits every year. They contribute £300m annually in taxes and an estimated £800m a year Gross Value Added to the economy.
But some have struggled to rebound from the pandemic and the current tough economic headwinds, which has seen closures and job losses. In 2005 there were 160 casinos in the UK – now there are 118, including three casinos which have closed in recent months.
Each month around 22.5m adults enjoy a bet in Great Britain on sport, online and in bookmakers, bingo and casinos, while problem gambling rates remain low and stable, at 0.4 for cent of the adult population in England, according to the latest NHS Health Survey.
Across the entire industry, including our world-leading online sector and bookmakers on hard-pressed high streets, regulated betting and gaming supports 110,000 jobs, raises £4.2bn in taxes and contributes £7.1bn to the economy.