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BGC urges new UK culture secretary to reject fresh gambling taxes

| By Robert Fletcher
Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher has called on Britain’s new secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer to reject any proposals for additional taxes on the gambling industry.
Autumn Statement gambling

Frazer was appointed to the role earlier this week as part of prime minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle. Her department, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has responsibility for gambling, but with digital now stripped out.

Former culture secretary Michelle Donelan will head up a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

Speaking after the appointment, Dugher welcomed Frazer to the role and called on her to ensure the publication of the much-anticipated gambling white paper “as soon as possible” to end uncertainty in the industry.

Dugher also urged Frazer to ignore calls to introduce new taxes on gambling businesses and said the focus should instead be on protecting the minority of consumers who suffer from gambling-related harm.

“There are still issues to finalise, but the long-awaited package of welcome reforms should be published without delay,” Dugher said. “We hope the new secretary of state will listen to racing and to the millions of punters who are concerned about blanket, intrusive, low-level ‘affordability’ checks driving people to the unsafe unregulated black market online. 

“We also hope that as a sector supporting jobs and investment in the UK, recovering from the pandemic and facing tough economic headwinds, she will reject calls for any new taxes on the industry.”

Dugher said it was important that any changes to regulations do not hamper the experience of people who enjoy gambling safely. 

“We continue to call for big changes so that standards in safer gambling continue to improve, but these changes must be carefully targeted to protect the small minority who are at risk or vulnerable, and not interfere with the overwhelming majority who enjoy betting safely and responsibly,” Dugher said.

“We have already called for an ombudsman to improve consumer redress and have engaged extensively with previous ministers. It’s time now for the government to end the damaging uncertainty and get on with publishing the white paper as soon as possible.”

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