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BGC asks MPs to consider wider industry in white paper session

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has asked MPs to consider the effects on the wider industry in their review of the Gambling Act Review white paper.
UK general election

Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, spoke at a committee session with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 11 July.

In his opening statement, Dugher said that the “voice” of those who place the occasional bet in the UK has been “occasionally lost” throughout the process of preparing and implementing the white paper.

“I want to just begin by talking about a group of people whose voice has been occasionally lost in this whole white paper process,” he said. “And that is the 22.5 million people who enjoy a bet on a regular basis.

“They’re also people who work hard, pay their taxes, look after their families and it’s what they choose to do with their money.”

During the session, the BGC also emphasised that there is “no evidence” for the alleged connections between sports betting advertising and problem gambling.

Wes Himes, executive director of standards and innovation at the BGC who also attended the session, said that problem gambling rates have actually fallen in the last number of years.

“They [problem gambling rates] have nearly halved since 2017 to 0.3% today – one of the lowest problem gambling rates internationally.

“So even though there has been a rise in the enjoyment of the product, there has also been a reduction in the problem gambling rate during that same time.”

Implications of the white paper

The BGC also commented on specific sections of the white paper, specifically asking DCMS to expedite plans to modernise casinos.

Dugher said that casinos require “access to some of the liberalising and modernisation measures that might help to save some of those businesses and grow some businesses”.

When the white paper was published in April, the BGC hailed it as a “once in a generation moment for change”. The body will work with the government and the GB Gambling Commission to ensure the white paper’s recommendations are delivered.

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