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BGC urges casino reforms via David Williams column

As the land-based casino industry looks toward 2024, David Williams, Director of Public Affairs, Rank Group has urged the UK Government to implement long-awaited policy reforms.

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The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has raised a call for reforms within the casino industry. The council emphasised urgency for the modernisation outlined in the Government's White Paper issued in April and urged swift action, highlighting the financial pressures faced by casinos.

Addressing concerns of rising costs, the BGC highlighted the impending increase in the National Living Wage by 9.8% in April 2024.

For the Rank Group, encompassing Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo clubs, this hike would incur an annual cost nearing £10m ($12.7m). This comes against the backdrop of the Group's recent financial results, indicating trading EBIT of £20.3m and a statutory loss.

Moreover, the impending statutory levy is poised to burden casinos with a 300% increase in contributions toward gambling-related harm initiatives over the next few years, according to the BGC.

Unlike many businesses, casinos can't pass these escalating costs onto consumers through higher prices. Instead, they rely on policy implementations outlined in the White Paper for revenue enhancement.

These reforms include changes to gaming machine allocations, authorisation for sports betting and the introduction of electronic payment methods.

The BGC has stressed the importance of timely policy implementations to modernise and bolster the appeal of casinos, aligning them with international standards.

The Council's plea for swift action echoes its prior endorsements and responses, including support for the UK Government's proposed gambling levy and advocating for responsible advertising guidelines.


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