BGC Chairman Brigid Simmonds denounces calls for an RET tax levy on gambling companies

Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) Chairman Brigid Simmonds has lambasted calls for a new safer gambling tax for gambling companies, saying, “The levy would not raise additional funds.”

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During the BGC's AGM held in London, attended by Gambling Insider, Simmonds highlighted the organisation's position on the forthcoming UK Government White Paper and the potential for a tax levy on gambling companies.

During her speech, Simmonds said: “All our work is based around improving safer gambling standards. The White Paper will bring changes that we have supported, but the changes need to be proportionate, well thought through and targeted at those that are vulnerable – as well as the 0.3% of the population that are problem gamblers.

“Many of the changes already made that have led to a fall in problem gambling have come from RET (research, education and treatment) funding by BGC members. The biggest betting firms donate an extra £100m to fight problem gambling – yet our critics still want taxes placed upon them to fund programmes that tackle gambling harm.

“The levy would not raise additional funds for RET; instead, it would work to dismantle a voluntarily funded, charitable group of members that has existed for over two decades. It would be too easy for that tax to rise and be used for something other than its original purpose.”

Meanwhile, Simmonds also commented on the positive presence of betting shops in UK high streets, telling the audience that: “89% of people that spend money in a betting shop spend money elsewhere on a high street. No high street can be successful without a good mix of retail and leisure activities.”

The White Paper is a governmental review that is expected to have a significant impact on the UK gambling market with reforms that will be put forward into new legislation.

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