Brigid Simmonds and Richard Flint: How they changed the industry

Despite the year still being new, 2024 has certainly already brought several changes for the gambling industry. Spillemyndigheden and Malta Gaming Authority have introduced new regulations, to name a few, but there have also been some more personal changes. Or perhaps, personnel changes.

Brigid Simmonds (BGC) and Richard Flint (Flutter)

Brigid Simmonds - The Betting and Gaming Council

The first of these was Brigid Simmonds, who announced that she would be stepping down from her position as Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) on 20 April 2024.

Simmonds was one of the members who had been there from the very start, serving as Chair as soon as the BGC was founded in 2019. The organisation acts as the main lobbying group for the gambling industry in the UK, which in its own words, ‘drives high ethical standards, create a culture of safer betting and gaming and build public and institutional trust in our world-class industry’.

The BGC isn’t afraid to speak up on a range of issues that affect the industry, with recent blogs tackling issues such as; casino reforms regarding struggling land-based venues, tax changes and concerns with advertising.

“We have never been in favour of a blanket approach that ignores the diversity of our membership with some members having disproportionately higher costs such as betting shops, bingo halls and casinos." - Brigid Simmonds, on the new statutory levy

However, that’s not the only thing the BGC is concerned with. Over the years, Simmonds has led the company as it supported GambleAware, as well as some of its direct campaigns, including Bet Regret.

The BGC has also launched its own campaigns, such as a four-year education programme to raise awareness for those aged 11-19 years old and ‘Take Time to Think,’ which focused on safer gambling tools.

Since its beginnings, the BGC has strengthened itself to become an establishment that prides itself on safer gambling initiatives, protecting young people and highlighting the need for better research, education and treatment of problem gambling.

At the very start of her appointment, Simmonds summed up her goals pretty succinctly: “There are however, critical issues facing the sector and that is why I will ensure that creating a safe gambling environment is the top priority.

“I will be listening to all stakeholders to ensure that the Betting and Gaming Council is leading the industry in identifying effective measures to protect customers."

“I firmly believe the UK regulated gambling industry should be recognised as the world-leading industry in terms of safer gambling.” - Brigid Simmonds

Despite finding itself in the middle of controversy from time to time, as most organisations like this do, it’s clear that the BGC has established some good in the world too. While Simmonds has led the body through its foundation period and the beginnings of the White Paper negotiations, it’ll be interesting to see how the Council fares moving forward.

As part of the announcement of Simmonds stepping down, it was also revealed that Michael Dugher would take over the position of Chair. As he will have to leave his position as CEO to do so, the company has already begun the recruitment process for the next Chief Executive.

Richard Flint - Flutter Entertainment 

A changing of the guard, then, if you will, but an end of an era on the same day over at Flutter Entertainment.

Indeed, Richard Flint announced that he would not seek re-election in the upcoming Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled for 1 May 2024. This means he will depart the Board of Directors at Flutter later in the year.

Flint was first appointed to the position back in May 2020, although this wasn’t his first time working at this kind of level in a company… nor was it his first time working with Flutter, technically.

Back in 2001, Flint was the Product Director of flutter.com, which was acquired by Betfair. Soon after this, he would move to Sky Betting and Gaming, where he would start out as the Managing Director before working his way up to CEO in 2014 and then Executive Chair in 2018.

During this time, Paddy Power merged with Betfair in 2016 to become one of the giants of the UK gambling scene. The company would then acquire a number of household names, including PokerStars, Sportsbet and FanDuel.

In 2019, Paddy Power Betfair announced it would change its name to Flutter Entertainment, and two months later Flint returned to the company as a Non-Executive Director this time.

During Flint’s tenure, Sky Bet achieved huge success – but he was also always a key figure in the safer gambling discussion.

"The Board wish to thank Richard for the considerable value and strategic insights he has brought to Flutter during his tenure and acknowledge his tremendous contribution to the development of the Sky Bet business since its inception in 2001. We wish him success in the future." - John Bryant, Chair of Flutter

While Flint is stepping away from Flutter, it doesn’t seem like he’s quite done with the corporate world just yet.

He’s listed as the Chair of Butternut Box, a dog food company that was founded in 2016. He’s also the Chair of Seat Unique, a ticket provider, as well as an investor in many other companies.

Could he be the next Betting and Gaming Council Chief Executive, perhaps…


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