Social Market Foundation Report – response from The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC)
“This is a thoughtful study ahead of the Government’s Review of the Gambling Act – a review we fully support. We welcome the fact that, in contrast to the siren voices of prohibitionists who claim problem gambling is high and increasing, this report rightly states that there is no evidence of a rise in problem gambling and that levels have been stable around 0.7% for nearly two decades.
“Although we do support many of the measures contained in the report, the authors share the BGC’s determination to raise standards and we welcome the important acknowledgment that our members have taken action to drive higher standards, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. We fully endorse the concept of a British gambling kite mark as a sign of operators’ commitment to fairness, quality and integrity and the BGC would welcome the opportunity to lead on the development of this concept.
But it is vital that the Government’s Review is evidence-led and avoids the dangers of unintended consequences. Some 30 million people enjoy an occasional bet, whether that’s on the Lottery, bingo or sports and gaming, and the overwhelming majority of them do so perfectly safely. We already carry out robust and improved affordability checks, and regularly intervene on customers to ensure they gamble within their means. We disagree with the suggestion of an arbitrary and random low cap on spending and can think of no other area of the economy where the government determines how much an individual can spend. We must avoid measures that see safe regulated betting being driven to unregulated, offshore, illegal black market operators online who don’t have the same checks, interventions and high standards that apply to regulated BGC members.
“Measures must be proportionate, evidence-led and fully thought through so as not to jeopardise the 100,000 jobs the industry supports or the over £3 billion in tax revenues it generates for the Exchequer.”