The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said the gambling industry is “ready” to back the Chancellor’s economic recovery plan but simultaneously issued a warning to the government from putting the industry’s aid at risk via the Gambling Review.
Ahead of the Spring statement, Michael Dugher, the Chief executive of the BGC, vowed that BGC members would support Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic recovery plan with jobs, tax revenues, and investment.
The BGC and its members have pledged to create 5,000 apprenticeships through their support for the government’s Plan For Jobs. Regulated operators are also signing up with the government’s Kick Start scheme to provide job opportunities to 16 to 24-year-old on Universal Credit.
They’ve also been rolling out graduate recruitment schemes to offer career paths for young people straight from university.
As the government closes in on publishing its Gambling Review white paper in May, the BGC has reiterated the need for “evidence-led” regulations to avoid risking the huge economic contributions BGC members make.
Highlighting the risk of the black market that threatens player safety, the BGC referenced a recent study by PwC, which found that the number of British punters using unregulated websites has increased to 460,000, and the amount staked is now in the billions of pounds.
In a statement on the official BGC website, Dugher said: “Our members are ready, willing and able to assist in the Chancellor’s post-Covid economic recovery plan.
“They already support thousands of world-leading tech jobs across the UK, helping to generate billions of pounds in revenue for the Treasury. And with ambitious plans for further investment in the years to come to generate more quality and high-skilled jobs in regions outside London, we are contributing to the levelling up agenda.”
He continued: “But it is vital the industry’s contribution to sports, local communities, jobs and tax revenues, is not put at risk in the Gambling White paper and with well-meaning but naive changes to regulation.
“The growth of the unsafe, unregulated black market in online gambling is part of a global trend and it’s foolish to think that there’s an enforcement solution to this. The DCMS simply throwing more money and a few extra powers at the Gambling Commission won’t fix this for the government.”
He ended the statement by saying: “You have to protect the competitiveness of consumer products and avoid the kings of intrusive restrictions that drive players to the black market. Anti-gambling campaigners may want to see a smaller regulated industry, but that would be bad news for the economy and the Exchequer.”