Tom Watson: I’ve been impressed with the engagement from the BGC

By Tim Poole

Tom Watson has told Gambling Insider he is encouraged by the Betting & Gaming Council’s (BGC) "very good start" since its formation in November 2019.

Under the stewardship of CEO Michael Dugher and Chair Brigid Simmonds, the BGC has set about representing the gaming industry with a more unified voice.

To date, the Council has been particularly vocal when it comes to refuting derogatory reporting of the industry and political lobbying.

And Watson, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has been "impressed" with the BGC’s progress so far.

He tells Gambling Insider: "I’m never complacent about things but I’ve been impressed with the engagement from the BGC.

"They’re pretty good at being the grown-up voice for the sector already. This is a very good start but only time will tell if the organisation can convince the industry to speak with one voice."

A strong advocate of gambling regulation, Watson has also been an outspoken critic of the gambling sector in the past.

However, following William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson and GVC Holdings CEO Kenny Alexander telling Gambling Insider they feel there will be a more "sensible and evidence-based approach" to potential online stake limits, Watson agrees following the same pattern of previous regulation may not be an appropriate solution.

He says: "I think the BGC must gather the evidence, decide what reforms are needed and make their case. Applying the analogue solutions of the past to digital problems faced currently is obviously not sensible."

The full feature on the BGC, including further comments from Watson, will be published in the May/June edition of Gambling Insider magazine.

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