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Legal & RegulatoryIndustry

Michael Dugher on gambling: "What if supermarkets couldn't do special offers on wine?"

Betting and Gaming Council CEO Michael Dugher has once again condemned a minority of anti-gambling prohibitionists putting pressure on peers in Whitehall to clamp down on gambling.  

betting gaming council web image gi

Dugher’s opinion is that these lovers of "draconian, arbitrary measures to clamp down on everyone who enjoys a bet want you to believe having a flutter poses the same risks as having a cigarette." 

In backing up his claims, he has once more cited problem gambling rates going down from 0.5% to 0.3% of the population; around 170,000 people are predicted to have some form of addiction.  

Dugher points to this number as comparatively low when compared with international figures. 

He reaffirms, instead, that the small cluster of descending voices be ignored in favour of an existing government promise to ensure all gambling reform is "evidence-led."

In this way, Dugher argues, the Government's gambling reform can, or should, be more aligned with policies against excessive alcohol consumption.  

Dugher suggests a tough regulatory approach be introduced to dissuade and prevent young people from accessing gambling. This would include, in his eyes, greater regulations for gambling advertisement, which raises awareness and advises of potential issues rather than warns of certain personal detriments, as anti-tobacco campaigns would.  

The BGC CEO goes further: "There is a creeping snobbery coming into this debate... can you imagine the middle-class outcry if supermarkets couldn’t do special offers on wine?" 

Arguments made by an anti-gambling MP who likened betting firms to drug dealers — people who provide little bags of heroin in the form of gambling — may also reaffirm Dugher’s claims of hysteria surrounding the prohibition of pro-gaming rhetoric.  

Dugher agrees that change is needed, but that changes must be correct. 

He concludes: “Gambling reform will also be a test for the Government. These are often complex issues and getting future regulation right so that it is genuinely balanced and proportionate, will require careful handling and considerable political skill.” 

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