BGC stresses importance of industry in providing vital support to UK sport

By Iqbal Johal

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has put forward how important it feels the sports betting industry is for supporting UK sports that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The BGC reinforced to a House of Commons committee that sports such as horse racing, football, rugby league and snooker have had to rely on funds provided by sponsorship, media rights and levy payments from operators.

The body’s submission to MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, who are holding an inquiry into sport in local communities, aims to highlight the partnership between betting and sport.

The message comes at a time the industry has faced heightened political scrutiny related to sponsorship in sport, with the UK Government reportedly planning to review such deals, along with gambling advertisements.

The BGC said: “The sectors would not exist without the sponsorship, levies and media rights payments paid by the betting sector, and so too there would be no product to bet on.

“Sponsorship from betting and gaming operators is worth more than £10m ($13.3m) a year to darts and snooker, while English Football League (EFL) clubs receive around £40m a year from the industry.”

In September, GVC Holdings signalled its support of grassroots sports in the UK, with the launch of its Pitching In programme, a multi-million-pound investment fund in partnership with the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues.

Many EFL and non-league clubs are struggling to cope due to the pandemic, with a parliamentary committee last week hearing that at least 10 EFL clubs are struggling to pay its wages for November.

BGC CEO Michael Dugher added: “Some sports are living on a knife-edge because of the ongoing ban on spectators, so the funding provided by our members is even more important than usual.”

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