BGC warns of “fantasy figures” in new Peers for Gambling Reform report

By Peter Lynch

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has warned of the “fantasy figures” within a new report from the Peers for Gambling Reform.

The report, carried out by NERA Economic Consulting, assessed the economic impact of reforms to the UK gambling industry proposed by Peers for Gambling Reform last year.

Such reforms, according to the report, would save the taxpayer between £68m ($96.3m) and £87m. It could also create up to 30,000 news jobs, with employee earnings potentially increasing by up to £400m.

But the BGC, while welcoming the Government’s Gambling Review, has claimed that any reforms must be based on serious evidence, as opposed to the “fantasy figures” contained within the Peers for Gambling Reform report.

“The dream of anti-gambling prohibitionists has always been to somehow force people not to gamble or to gamble less, just because they don’t like betting,” said BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher. “A minority of peers may look down their noses at the millions of working people who enjoy a bet, but the truth is that the overwhelming majority do so perfectly safely.”

Dugher highlighted both the figures generated from the BGC and the dangers that the black market could bring should reforms be too strict on the regulated gambling industry.

“The financial support our members have given to sports such as horse racing, football, rugby league, darts and snooker has been a lifeline over the past year, so the suggestion that a ban on sponsorship will do anything other than drive people to the black market is bizarre,” said Dugher.

“Furthermore, our members are spending £100m on research, education and treatment of problem gambling, as well as £10m on the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention programme.

“If people were restricted from betting in the regulated industry, they would simply migrate to the growing unlicensed, unsafe black market online that employs no one, pays no tax and contributes nothing to UK plc.”

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